San Francisco 49ers NFL draft picks 2022: Analysis for every selection

Drake Jackson's NFL draft profile (0:41)

Check out the best highlights that contributed to a stellar college career for USC's Drake Jackson. (0:41)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 2022 NFL draft was held April 28-30 and every San Francisco 49ers' draft pick is analyzed here.

The draft was in Las Vegas in the area adjacent to Caesars Forum two years after it was initially scheduled. The 2020 NFL draft was turned into a virtual event because of COVID-19.

Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player San Francisco has selected will fit.

Analysis of every NFL pick | Updated depth charts

Round 2, No. 61 overall: Drake Jackson, DE, USC

My take: The 49ers have never been shy about taking pass-rushers since GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan arrived. This is the fourth time in six years the Niners have taken a defensive lineman with their first pick in the draft. In Jackson, the Niners hope to find a long-term running mate opposite Nick Bosa. Jackson, who is known for his speed and athleticism, had just 12.5 sacks and 25 tackles in three seasons, so the production didn't match the measurables, but Niners defensive line coach Kris Kocurek has a long history of getting the most out of talented players. There's enough talent on the defensive line that Jackson won't have huge expectations immediately, which should allow him to add play strength and technique in the meantime.

Round 3, No. 93 overall: Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, LSU

My take: The 49ers continue to invest relatively early picks in running backs, which isn't a good thing, given the success they've had finding backs later in the draft or even after it's over. Having depth at running back has proved necessary the past few years, as the Niners have had a different player lead them in rushing every season since Shanahan took over in 2017. But it's not a good sign for Trey Sermon, the 2021 third-round pick, that he was surpassed by Elijah Mitchell in the pecking order last season, and the Niners then invested at the spot again this year. Davis-Price is a bigger, more physical type of back than previous players the Niners have had, so he should have a role, but it's still a bit of a head-scratcher given the needs on the offensive line. Perhaps it's an effort to help appease receiver Deebo Samuel, who might like to have his number of carries dialed back.

Round 3, No. 105 overall: Danny Gray, WR, SMU


Danny Gray's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from Danny Gray's college career at SMU.

My take: As the Niners transition to Trey Lance at quarterback, the need for a receiver with home-run speed has become more apparent. Gray, who ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, should give them that element. Gray won't have to take on a significant role right away, but he does add some needed depth and could easily carve out a role as a deep-ball specialist in the interim. It also might be no coincidence that the Niners used their two third-round picks on a running back and a receiver, both of whom could alleviate some of Deebo Samuel's work load as the Niners look to make amends with their star offensive weapon.

Round 4, No. 134 overall: Spencer Burford, OL, UTSA

My take: The Niners finally address their needs on the offensive line by grabbing Burford, who played left tackle, left guard and right tackle for the Roadrunners. The Niners could use another body to compete for the swing tackle job and battle for open jobs on the interior of the line, and Burford should be able to do both. This shouldn't preclude them from continuing to add, though, particularly with someone who could play center down the road.

Round 5, No. 172 overall: Samuel Womack, CB, Toledo

My take: Starting nickel corner K'Waun Williams departed for the Denver Broncos in the offseason, leaving the Niners with a need at the position. Womack led the MAC in passes defended in three straight seasons and had five career interceptions, so he brings the competitiveness and ball skills the 49ers could use. It's unlikely Womack will win that job immediately, but he could force his way into the mix long term while helping on special teams.

Round 6, No. 187 overall: Nick Zakelj, OL, Fordham

My take: The Niners continued to add depth on the offensive line with Zakelj, who, like Burford, could offer the ability to play tackle or guard. Zakelj played tackle exclusively in college but projects more to the interior in the NFL. The Niners don't have many proven commodities on the interior of the offensive line, so there could be opportunity there, but Zakelj's ticket to a roster spot is more likely to come as a versatile backup.

Round 6, No. 220 overall: Kalia Davis, DT, UCF

My take: The 49ers once struck gold at defensive tackle with D.J. Jones in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft. The hope is they can do something similar here after losing Jones to the Denver Broncos in free agency. Davis is more of a three-technique who has some burst to get up the field. He didn't play in 2020 because of the pandemic and is coming off a torn right ACL, but the Niners won't need much from him in 2022 and can bring him along slowly given their depth on the defensive line.

Round 6, No. 221 overall: Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State

My take: Castro-Fields is a big, fast outside corner who comes from a zone-heavy scheme similar to the one favored in San Francisco. The Niners have a lot of bodies at corner, so Castro-Fields will be asked to come in and help on special teams to have a shot at winning a roster spot as a rookie. Adding two corners on Day 3 makes sense as the 49ers have options, but there's little certainty at the position after veterans Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley.

Round 7, No. 262 overall: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

My take: With three quarterbacks on the roster and Jimmy Garoppolo expected to be on the way out at some point, the Niners needed another arm for training camp and one who could be a developmental prospect for the practice squad. Purdy was a four-year starter for the Cyclones, so he at least has a lot of snaps under his belt. But there's little chance Purdy will be anything more than the third quarterback in 2022. Anything beyond that will depend on how he develops.