As it currently stands, the San Francisco 49ers will be watching from the sidelines on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 49ers offered up their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, in addition to some other stock to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the third-overall pick in last year’s draft.
Void of a first round selection, NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes it isn’t the worst situation for a number of teams heading into this year’s draft.
“I think this is a really good depth draft, especially when you get into the second, third (and) fourth round. There’s a lot of quality there, a lot of starters,” Jeremiah said in a conference call on Friday. “People are going to realize when you target the right positions outside of Round 1, you can survive without a first-round pick.”
Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, set to take place in Indianapolis March 1-7, Jeremiah’s stance on the heaps of depth in later rounds should bode well for San Francisco. As history has told, the 49ers have found success under their current regime in some of their Day 2 and 3 picks, including George Kittle (fifth round), Fred Warner (third round), D.J. Jones (sixth round) and Dre Greenlaw (fifth round) among others.
This year, the 49ers aren’t scheduled to make their first selection until midway into the second round. Their exact selections will become clearer closer to the start of the new league year on March 16, as the team is likely to be awarded compensatory picks for their recent coaching and player departures.
Fortunately for San Francisco, the team doesn’t have too many voids to fill with a number of their cornerstones under contract heading into the 2022 season and a few the team aims to retain over the next three weeks.
The team is also out of the quarterback sweepstakes after selecting Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick last season in what was regarded as one of the deepest and most talented rookie quarterback classes of the last decade. A whopping eight signal callers were taken in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, the most in draft history, and five were taken within the first 15 picks.
The timing worked in San Francisco’s favor as this year’s group of QBs isn’t expected to garner the same attention. To put things into perspective, last year during Jeremiah’s call, it only took three questions from the media before the analyst was asked his evaluation of the top quarterback prospects. And just about every other question from there on out continued on the same trend. This year, it took 32 minutes into the hour-plus-long call before the first quarterback question was presented.
Per Jeremiah, this year’s crop of talent is looking like a mixed bag for QB-needy teams. However, fortunately for San Francisco, they can confidently focus their attention on other areas of need as the team is less than a month away from free agency and two months out from the 2022 NFL Draft – even if it doesn’t come in the first 32 picks.
“This is a fun draft class,” Jeremiah added. “I think it’s different than some of the years we’ve had recently where, from a quarterback standpoint, I don’t know we have the star power. I don’t know that we’ll have a top 10 pick there.
“It’s not easy to evaluate these guys, and the majority of us feel like this isn’t the best year of quarterbacks. But we’ve been proven wrong before, so we’ll see what happens.”