Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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

May 1, 2022 at 7:38 AM--

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

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," wrote Kiper. "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, 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-

NFL Draft grades 2022: All 32 draft classes ranked from best (Ravens) to worst (Patriots)

Iyer isna'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-

2022 NFL draft grades: Jets, Lions among top team classes while Patriots, Cowboys among worst

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," wrote Davis.

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 analystics 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 analystics 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."

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