How 49ers will approach 2022 NFL Draft without first-round pick

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How 49ers will approach NFL draft without first-round pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 2022 NFL Draft will look a lot different than the 2021 edition, when the 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall to eventually select quarterback Trey Lance.

In the move-up to draft Lance, the 49ers sent their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins. Due to that blockbuster trade, San Francisco isn't set to select this year until late in the second round at No. 61 overall.

The 2022 draft class doesn't have the same high-end talent as past groups, but it's deep at certain positions, including wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback. While the 49ers don't have a first-round pick, they do have nine total selections, and could package picks together to move up in the draft order.

However, the draft's depth could stop general manager John Lynch and the 49ers from making such a move.

"When you start talking about a draft in which the volume of it is probably the strength, there's a good thought just to stay put," Lynch told reporters Monday in his pre-draft press conference. "You know, even go back and acquire more picks. But then, I think you also got to take into account, when you look at our roster, we're already at 76, 77, 78 people, in terms of what we have. There's not a lot of ton of holes as we see it. That gives you the flexibility to go up when you really like a player. That's something we haven't hesitated to do in the past."

Entering the draft, the 49ers have a few areas they need to address, including safety, interior offensive line and wide receiver. Given how deep this draft class is, the 49ers could see a prospect who is high on their board start to slide and be inclined to move up to secure him.

RELATED: Lynch 'can't imagine' trading Deebo

While the 49ers don't currently own a first-round pick, Deebo Samuel's recent trade request makes San Francisco the most intriguing team in the draft.

Lynch told reporters Monday that he "can't imagine" trading away Samuel. However, if the 49ers received a godfather offer with multiple first-round picks, they might move the All-Pro receiver and become a player in Thursday's first round.

Should the 49ers acquiesce to Samuel's request, they will need to start to fill his void via the draft. If that's the route the 49ers must take, the 2022 draft class is one that has caught Lynch's eye.

"This incoming class, I think much like the draft, there's just a lot of volume to the class," Lynch said Monday. "And there's a little bit of everything, if you like speed, there's some guys who can flat out get it. Some of the faster players that have been around since I've been doing this, these guys can fly. And their speed transfers to the football field. Oftentimes you can track guys and it isn't necessarily the case. There's some guys, and it’s so interesting with the GPS readings we get now, you can see it on film, but then it's verified.

"And so, I think there's that. You think of some of the top players in the first round, there's some bigger players who also move extremely well. So, there's slot players that are good players. I do think there's good versatility and there's good depth. And so, there's just a lot of options at the wide receiver class in this draft that it makes it a really good class.”

As for now, the 49ers plan to be draft spectators until Friday. But there are multiple ways that scenario could change if the right deal -- involving Samuel or not -- comes along.

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