These 49ers rookies desperately need more playing time

Drake Jackson #95 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Drake Jackson #95 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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It’s going to be tough for a lot of 49ers backups to see the field when the team gets healthy again, but these rookies should still see more snaps.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t particularly pay too much attention to how much a player makes or where he was drafted when it comes to seeing the field on game day.

Putting things relatively bluntly, Shanahan almost exclusively goes with the better player.

This is normally the right choice, yes, especially for a team like the Niners that has nothing short of Super Bowl aspirations halfway through the 2022 season. At the same time, though, San Francisco went through a 4-4 stretch to open up the year while also dealing with a notable slew of serious injuries.

In some regard, those injuries might have been a blessing for a number of reserves and first-year players and backups who originally didn’t make Shanahan’s top bill to start.

And while some of those backups and recent NFL Draft picks weren’t exactly impressive, others certainly performed well enough to earn consideration for increased attention.

Or are at least worthy of more looks.

Here are three rookies for whom Shanahan and his staff should consider increasing snap counts over the second half of the season.

No. 3: 49ers EDGE Drake Jackson

It makes sense why the 49ers haven’t fielded their top pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, former USC EDGE Drake Jackson, in more than just a situational role for the first half of the year.

Jackson, who bounced around in a number of different roles with the Trojans, is far better a pass-rusher than a run-stuffer, and it’ll be the latter where he needs work in order to become a three-down player.

However, Jackson has already proven his value as a pass-rusher and then some, currently tied for second among all rookies in the sack department through eight games with three already.

To date, the Niners have only fielded Jackson a total of 175 defensive snaps, which is just over 34 percent.

San Francisco is facing opponents who pass the ball more than 34 percent of the time, so it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give Jackson a few more snaps.

Even if he’s still solely a pass-rusher.