2022 NFL Draft: NFL experts hand out 49ers draft grades, love Drake Jackson pick

Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, and the San Francisco 49ers find themselves with a draft class of nine players—five on defense and four on offense. It’s time for the coaching staff to focus on inserting its new pieces into the plan for the upcoming season. It’s also time for the media “experts” to hand out their annual grades of each NFL team’s most recent crop of rookies.

Grades this early into the offseason don’t mean a whole lot when none of these rookies have yet to take an NFL snap or even been part of an offseason practice with their new clubs. But it’s one way to gauge the perception of how each team improved based on its pre-draft projected needs.

Below are the grades issued by some of the more well-known analysts and writers within the media and what they had to say about the 49ers’ 2022 draft class. Included are quotes from each analyst’s explanation for the awarded grade.

49ers Draft Picks

  • Round 2: Drake Jackson, DE, USC
  • Round 3: Ty Davis-Price, RB, LSU
  • Round 3: Danny Gray, WR. SMU
  • Round 4: Spencer Burford, OL, Texas-San Antonio
  • Round 5: Samuel Womack, CB. Toledo
  • Round 6: Nick Zakelj, OT. Fordham
  • Round 6: Kalia Davis, DT. UCF
  • Round 6: Tariq Castro Fields, CB. Penn State
  • Round 7: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

Mel Kiper, ESPN: B-

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This marks the third year in a row that Kiper has awarded the 49ers the same grade for their draft class. Despite not reaching expectations in 2021 with the Trojans, Kiper seems to like San Francisco’s first selection—Jackson.

“If he can put it all together, this could be a pick we talk about as a steal a few years down the road,” Kiper wrote.

The analyst feels the Niners “reached a little too much” with the rest of their picks.

“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,” Kiper wrote. “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.”

Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated: B

NFL Draft 2022 Grades: Analysis of Every Team’s Picks

Orr’s written analysis of the 49ers’ draft class is limited to the team’s second third-round pick, Gray, the speedy wideout out of SMU.

“Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ scouting department must have some kind of bat signal every time an athletic wide receiver catches a ball on a drag route with a head of steam and gains an unreasonably large amount of yards after the catch,” wrote Orr. “Such a signal must have blinked wildly several times last year on Danny Gray. Jackson was a worthwhile swing at the edge-rusher position, which the 49ers desperately need to start replenishing if they want to run the kind of defense that brought them into Super Bowl contention in the first place. Jackson wins in a variety of ways, and given that he didn’t lean on one particular mode of getting to the quarterback, he should arrive at the next level as a fertile mind for a set of good defensive coaches.”

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: B-

2022 NFL Draft: Final quick-snap grades for all 32 teams

A slightly lower mark than last year’s B+ grade. Reuter ackowledges that the success of this draft could be dependant on the progress of second-year quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers move to acquire the young passer cost them this and next year’s first-round picks.

“The Niners did a nice job picking up Jackson in the second round,” wrote Reuter, “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.”

The analyst liked the depth additions and versatility of the two rookie offensive linemen. Both can play multiple positions.

“I love Womack’s competitiveness; he’ll be a nice slot corner, Reuter added. “The quick Davis and cover man Castro-Fields will contribute as rookies to outperform their draft status. They eschewed other needs to pick Purdy as Mr. Irrelevant, as he could be a longtime backup in the league with his tools and competitive nature.”

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: C-

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Iyer isn’t as impressed with this year’s 49ers draft class compared to last year’s group that earned an A-grade. While he liked the selection of Jackson, he saw this year’s effort as “rough” for head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

“Burford and Castro-Fields were good later picks to address needs, but reaching for Davis-Price and Gray was too offensively cute for Shanahan,” wrote Iyer. “As contenders who just made the NFC title game again, running back and wideout were not real concerns with Elijah Mitchell leading a run-first attack. At least San Francisco didn’t trade Deebo Samuel, but it also couldn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo Purdy was a fitting Mr. Irrelevant to add to the quarterback questions.”

Nate Davis, USA Today: B-

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This year’s grade from Davis is comparable to last year’s grade of B. He notes that the biggest 49ers-related headline from this year’s draft is that the team did not cave and trade wide receiver Deebo Samuel. The only rookie he commented on was the 49ers’ first of the draft—Jackson.

“Second-round USC edge rusher Drake Jackson is the headline player and should bolster the depth the Niners like to feature on their defensive line,” Davis wrote.

Pro Football Focus: B+

2022 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams

This one was a slight improvement over last year’s grade of B. The analytics site calls Jackson a “phenomenal value at No. 61 overall.”

“He uses his hands really well and has great bend for the position,” wrote Pro Football Focus. “Even though he’s 6-foot-3, 273 pounds, Jackson is much more of a finesse rusher who lacks any sort of power move. If he develops some counters to his speed rushes, he can be a fantastic pass-rusher for the 49ers .”

The analytics site goes on to call Davis-Price “average.” It calls Gray’s hands “awful” before noting that everything else about the wideout is “pretty fantastic.”

“San Francisco knows what they’re doing when evaluating the wide receiver position,” wrote Pro Football Focus. “This is one of the best picks of Round 3.”

Luke Easterling, Draft Wire: A

NFL draft grades: Instant reaction, full analysis of every team’s 2022 class Easterling really liked the 49ers’ draft efforts. Like others, he felt the Jackson selection was good value, calling the defensive end a “steal” while naming Davis-Price as San Francisco’s biggest reach.

WR Danny Gray is an explosive playmaker who should be a fun addition to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, even if Deebo Samuel sticks around,” wrote Easterling. “The best value of San Francisco’s Day 3 picks came in the sixth round with CB Tariq Castro-Fields , who has starter potential. QB Brock Purdy was an intriguing flyer with their final pick. Overall, this group is a bit of a seesaw, but nailing your top pick always tips the scales in the right direction.”

The San Francisco 49ers selected USC defensive end Drake Jackson with the 29th pick (No. 61 overall) in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 49ers met with Jackson at the NFL Scouting Combine. Jackson registered 37 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, five sacks, a pass defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble through 10 game appearances as a junior in 2021, per Sports Reference. He recorded 103 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, and two interceptions through three seasons with the Trojans. Jackson is from Corona, CA. He earned a pre-draft grade of 6 from NFL.com, which equates to an “above-average backup,” per the site’s 8-point grading

Drake Jackson’s excitement over joining the San Francisco 49ers was exceedingly palpable on Friday night when he spoke to reporters for the first time since getting selected by the team with the 61st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Jackson sounded like he couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a 49er, and it’s easy to understand why. The 21-year-old defensive end out of USC will get a chance to grow and develop under one of the NFL’s top defensive line coaches in Kris Kocurek, while also being able to play with one of the league’s elite pass rushers in Nick Bosa. Needless to say, Jackson is excited to get to the Bay Area and start his NFL career. “I’m jumping for joy right now,” Jackson said. “Right after this I think I’m going to jump into the

The pick is in! The San Francisco 49ers made their first selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, taking defensive end Drake Jackson out of USC. The 49ers missed out on a first-round pick this year, as their 2022 first-rounder was involved in the trade up for quarterback Trey Lance last offseason. Jackson, a three-year starter at USC, had 12.5 career sacks at USC, including a forced fumble and an interception in 2021. Jackson, who stood at 6’3, 254-pounds at the NFL Combine, has a long reach with 34 ‘ arms, and tested well with a 36.5′ vertical jump and a 127’ broad jump. Jackson slots in as a pass-rush specialist, using his athleticism and long strides as his main abilities to get to the quarterback. His fit matches

The 49ers decided to use their first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft to give a boost to their pass rush, selecting edge defender Drake Jackson out of USC with the 61st overall pick in the second round. What should 49ers fans know about the team’s newest defensive lineman? Here’s a quick rundown. Stock fluctuation Jackson enrolled at USC in the spring of 2019, then made an immediate splash as a true freshman, racking up 46 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble in 11 starts. His performance earned him second-team All-Pac-12 honors while also landing him a second-team spot on the Pro Football Focus Freshman All-American team. At first, Jackson looked like he might be on track to be a potential Day 1 pick in the NFL Draft, but things changed

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