49ers 2022 NFL Draft grades: How experts rate nine-player class

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How NFL draft experts graded 49ers' nine-player class originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers entered the 2022 NFL Draft a little differently than any other draft in recent years.

San Francisco had nine picks over the three-day draft and decided not to make any trades with its picks.

The 49ers had to wait until late in the second round before they were able to finally make their first pick, selecting USC edge rusher Drake Jackson at No. 61.

Here’s a full list of San Francisco’s nine draft selections:

  • USC Edge Drake Jackson (No. 61 overall)

  • LSU RB Tyrion Davis-Price (No. 93 overall)

  • SMU WR Danny Gray (No. 105 overall)

  • UTSA OT Spencer Burford (No. 134 overall)

  • Toledo CB Samuel Womack (No. 172 overall)

  • Fordham OT Nick Zakelj (No. 187 overall)

  • UCF DT Kalia Davis (No. 220 overall)

  • Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields (No. 221 overall)

  • Iowa State QB Brock Purdy (No. 262 overall)

Although it’s only been a few days and it may seem a bit early to grade picks right away, major outlets around the web have handed out grades to provide immediate analysis and evaluation of San Francisco’s picks.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com 
Grade (overall): B-

Day 1 grade: C
Day 2 grade: B
Day 3 grade: B+

It won't be clear whether trading a first-round pick for Trey Lance was the right move until we see him on the field. The Niners did a nice job picking up Jackson in the second round, but whether grabbing Davis-Price and Gray in the third round was good value is a question to be answered over the next couple of seasons.

Burford and Zakelj added depth on the offensive line, both able to play inside or outside. I love Womack's competitiveness; he'll be a nice slot corner. The quick Davis and cover man Castro-Fields will contribute as rookies and outperform their draft status. The Niners eschewed other needs to pick Purdy as Mr. Irrelevant; the former Cyclone passer could be a longtime backup in the league with his tools and competitive nature.

Vinnie Iyer, SportingNews.com 
Grade (Round 2 only): A

The 49ers needed some pass-rush versatility behind Nick Bosa and this is a good first pick from this class that aligns with the value. Jackson is a good fit in their scheme with his agility.

Ryan Gosling, ProFootballNetwork.com 

Round 2
Pick: Drake Jackson
Grade: B+

Round 3
Pick 93: Ty Davis-Price
Grade: D

Pick 105: Danny Gray
Grade: B

Round 4
Pick 134: Spencer Burford
Grade: B

Round 5
Pick 172: Sam Womack
Grade: B

Round 6
Pick 187: Nick Zakelj
Grade: B+

Pick 220: Kalia Davis
Grade: B+

Pick 221: Tariq Castro-Fields
Grade: B+

Round 7
Pick 262: Brock Purdy
Grade: C

Getting their draft started at No. 61, the San Francisco 49ers arguably got their guy who fits their defense best. Drake Jackson has bend and strength, a great get-off, and terrific athleticism. Jackson’s upside is great, and he adds a nice complement opposite Nick Bosa.

The 49ers then went AWOL and selected Tyrion Davis-Price from LSU. There were certainly other much more talented running backs on the board. There definitely were other positions of need on the board in general at pick No. 93. We know the 49ers aren’t shy at taking or signing running backs, but this one is a shocker.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com 
Grade: (overall): B-

The 49ers' first-round pick was dealt away in their trade up for quarterback Trey Lance last year, so they began their class on Day 2 with edge rusher Drake Jackson (61), who could be an early contributor. I thought he might have a breakout 2021 season, but he had just five sacks. If he can put it all together, this could be a pick we talk about as a steal a few years down the road.

Tyrion Davis-Price (93) went a couple rounds earlier than I thought; he's my 13th-ranked running back, and there were several better backs available before the Day 3 run on them got underway. Wide receiver Danny Gray (105) is lightning after the catch, while Kalia Davis (220) is a physical interior defensive lineman against the run. He's recovering from an injury, or else he probably would have gone at least a round higher.

RELATED: Mel Kiper's 49ers draft grade: Huge overreach, 'lightning' hit

Jackson has a high ceiling, but San Francisco reached a little too much for my liking with their picks.

Sports Illustrated 
Grade (Round 2 only): B

Pick: Drake Jackson

You can never have too many pass rushers, and the 49ers add another to their defensive line. He packed on 20 pounds between the combine (253) and USC’s pro day (273), but despite the added weight, Jackson still tested well athletically. Given his abundance of tools—length, explosiveness and bend—Jackson didn’t produce at the level some had expected in 2021, but he has the upside to become a highly productive pass rusher for San Francisco.

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