2022 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

A draft completely irrelevant. Mr. Irrelevant that is.

Every year around draft time we like to look at the ghosts of drafts past with the San Francisco 49ers and reflect on the players allocated from the draft. We luckily have video of each draft thanks to YouTube poster and 49ers fan Marvin49. We’ll be looking at every year during the Kyle Shanahan era up to 2023. Today it’s 2022 (video linked).

2022 begins the slump of the 49ers not having a first round pick thanks to the Trey Lance trade. This meant any logical fan could go do something else on Thursday night. Of course the “will they or won’t they” trade into the first round talk dominated discussions.

Lance was seen as the starter, as we discussed over and over again. Jimmy Garoppolo was seen as a trade piece, but a surgery put an end to that.

So, with nine picks, the 49ers began another draft that began on Day 2. A draft that they would burn eight picks on and come disappointed (at least two years later).

First up is Drake Jackson, a linebacker out of USC. Jackson was thought of as an edge setter opposite Nick Bosa. While seen as having decent production there was a lot of “getting it all put together.” The big thing for Jackson was his fluctuating weight depending on how USC wanted him. Unfortunately, Jackson has had some bright spots, but he is still getting it together. He played both seasons, but has started in 0 games and in 2023, he only played in 8 games due to injuries.

Next up is the annual running back pick for the 49ers (which somewhat makes sense in theory given how much bleeding came from this position): Tyrion Davis-Price. Davis-Price debuted in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks…and that was pretty much it. Davis-Price was waived to the practice squad in 2023, a year later. The whole pick didn’t make much make much sense given the pre-dominant gap scheme he played in college. TDP now is with the Philadelphia Eagles on a futures contract. Something you typically don’t want to see two years after taking a third-round pick.

Then there’s Danny Gray. Sure he’s fast. But he’s also only caught one pass. Make matters worse he missed 2023 due to an injury. Just a reminder he has caught just one more pass than A.J. Jenkins, the first-round pick of the 2012 draft.

Moving on, we now get offensive lineman Spencer Burford out of UTSA in the fourth round. Burford was someone who showed a lot of good stuff early, but in 2023, he lost the job to Jon Feliciano. He’ll compete in 2024, but his potential seems to be trending downwards.

Then there’s cornerback Samuel Womack. Womack showed some promise his rookie season, but surprise!— he spent some of 2023 on injured reserve and only played in seven games with six tackles. Personally, I wanted more interceptions just so I could do a Sean Connery impression and say, “Womack? Why am I not surprised!” during games.

To help with more offensive line issues the 49ers took Nick Zakelj a tackle out of Fordham. Like Womack and Gray, Zakelj spent time on IR and never had his potential realized. He’s only played in nine total games across two years, starting in none of them. He doesn’t have any penalties though.

In a move to bolster the ACL Allstars built by Trent Baalke, the 49ers then took Kalia Davis. Davis was nursing an ACL injury and didn’t play for all of 2022. In 2023 he got three games in, but that’s pretty much it. If he didn’t suffer the injury he’d most likely be a third round pick, but as we know, those knee injuries are iffy.

Then there’s Tariq Castro-Fields. Guess what happened to him? If you say, “injured” it’s a good guess, but wrong. Fields didn’t even make it through his first full training camp with the team, getting cut in final roster cuts. He now plays for the Washington commanders.

So that’s eight of nine picks. All of which are underwhelming at best and shades of 2012 at worse. Any other year, any other pick, it’d probably be safe to say nothing could redeem this draft. Well, pick number nine changes all of this. Because with their final pick, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the 49ers took a flyer on Iowa State QB Brock Purdy. The pick put an end to a miserable draft at the time, with myself and many other fans laughing at his chances even making the team.

As you know that 2022 season had Trey Lance start and go down with a foot injury in the second game. Jimmy Garoppolo returned, having signed a reworked deal to be Lance’s backup, and he himself got injured. That forced the 49ers to go to Purdy. The moment Brock Purdy finished the first game he started, you knew Garoppolo wasn’t getting his job back if healthy. As Purdy showed ridiculous poise and ability, it left Trey Lance’s status as a question also. Purdy took the 49ers to the NFC Championship, but suffered an elbow injury early in the game, putting him out of action.

Purdy was named the starting quarterback once healthy during the 2023 offseason. In 2023, Purdy was Number 1 at some point for every positive statistic they have for the quarterback position. He also shattered team records for passing yards, leaping ahead of the likes of Jeff Garcia, Joe Montana, and Steve Young. His second season, he took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Yes, Purdy did. When the Detroit Lions decided to stop catching passes, Purdy powered up and brought the 49ers back from a massive deficit.

I’d go so far to say the Super Bowl loss was in spite of Purdy, not because of him, because Purdy played darn good. Unfortunately his O-line couldn’t keep to assignments, his wide receiver quit on a deep route for a touchdown, and his running back fumbled the ball on the first possession. His special teams did…I don’t know what the heck they were doing, and his defense decided to erode. Because, 49ers. Purdy played well through the whole game, much better than Patrick Mahomes, but we don’t talk about that.

Enough about what Purdy did. Being it’s the quarterback position and the salary he’s on, that single pick almost makes you forget the rest of this draft. Almost. There are a lot of whiffs in this one. I wouldn’t say the logic or thinking process was bad, but each pick seemed disappointing from either a health or performance perspective. There’s still plenty of time for development. Drake Jackson could turn it around this year; Danny Gray could be a decent option.

But there’s a lot of development missed out on in this draft.

As always, the DMCA biscuits are watching this thing in full force, so go here to watch the entire draft reaction.

Pick Breakdown

Round 2 – Pick 61 – Drake Jackson, LB, USC
Round 3 – No. 93 – Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, LSU
Round 3 – No. 105 – Danny Gray, WR, SMU
Round 4 – No. 134 – Spencer Burford, OT, UTSA
Round 5 – No. 172 – Samuel Womack, CB, Toledo
Round 6 – No. 187 – Nick Zakelj, OT, Fordham
Round 6 – No. 220 – Kalia Davis, DT, UCF
Round 6 – No. 221 – Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
Round 7 – No. 262 – Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

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