Grades for every 49ers 2022 NFL Draft rookie through first 8 games

Drake Jackson #95 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
Drake Jackson #95 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Powell, Samuel Womack III, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers
Brandon Powell #19 of the Los Angeles Rams is tackled by Samuel Womack III #26 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

49ers NFL Draft picks in Round 5: CB Samuel Womack

SAMUEL WOMACK III. C. . CB. San Francisco 49ers

Perhaps even more than Spencer Burford, small-school cornerback Samuel Womack turned plenty of heads in the preseason, particularly with his two-interception game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 of the exhibition phase.

His efforts were so noteworthy that San Francisco didn’t hesitate to crown him the starting nickel cornerback right away into the regular season.

A position Womack since has lost, though, first to second-year defensive back Deommodore Lenoir and then, more by positional default, the 49ers’ veteran defensive back, Jimmie Ward.

Now, with eight games out of the way, Womack has appeared for just 21.6 percent of defensive snaps, and while he does have 11 tackles and even a forced fumble, opposing quarterbacks have a 135.4 passer rating when targeting him in coverage.

However, this is where curves have to come into play.

Defensive backs often struggle to transition from the college ranks to the pros, Ward being a primary example. It took him a few years to find his footing. Day-three defensive backs face even tougher odds with this shift, so the book is far from closed on Womack, and he’s likely delivered the kind of lowish expectations one might have for a Round 5 cornerback.