49ers 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Roundup of B/R Staff, Kiper and Expert Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 20, 2022

49ers 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Roundup of B/R Staff, Kiper and Expert Picks

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers have one clear need that most NFL draft experts agree on: help in the secondary. But it will have to wait until the second round to land a player.

    The 49ers are not scheduled to pick in the first round. Their original first-round pick traded hands twice, with San Francisco using it in a deal with the Miami Dolphins, who then shipped it to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Tyreek Hill trade.

    Kyle Shanahan and his staff should have their scouting attention on the second tier of defensive back prospects.

    Draft experts believe either cornerback or safety will be the position of the No. 61 overall pick to get the Niners' selection process rolling.

No. 61 Overall Pick

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    A handful of NFL draft experts differ on which prospect will land with the 49ers at No. 61, but they are in agreement on the position of need.

    Bleacher Report's NFL scouting staff mocked UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen to the 49ers in its most recent mock draft.

    The ESPN pair of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay alternated selections in their latest mock draft. McShay predicted that Maryland safety Nick Cross would land at No. 61.

    CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson placed Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook into the 49ers' first selection of the draft process.

    The secondary is the weakest part of the San Francisco defense. The 49ers do not have much depth after free-agent signing Charvarius Ward.

    Ward will be the No. 1 cornerback, and Jimmie Ward is expected to partner Talanoa Hufanga at safety as the depth chart stands.

    San Francisco does not boast much talent behind those three players, which is why the secondary is a popular position of need in mock drafts.

    All of the aforementioned defensive backs are expected to make it to the second day of the draft.

    The one drastic move San Francisco could make is trading into the late part of the first round if there is a falling prospect who is high on the team's draft board.

    The 49ers have a total haul of nine picks, so if they feel the need to trade up, they could offer a package of some of the late-round selections.

No. 93 Overall Pick

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    San Francisco's major need on offense comes on the interior of the offensive line.

    Alex Mack has not decided whether he will return to the 49ers for the 2022 season, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Even if Mack returns, the 49ers could use a young center to train under the veteran offensive lineman.

    Wilson and B/R's NFL scouting staff both projected Nebraska center Cam Jurgens to the 49ers at No. 93.

    San Francisco could allow Jurgens to learn the ways of the team's run-blocking system during his rookie year.

    If Mack does not return, the 49ers could slide Daniel Brunskill to the center spot if they do not feel Jurgens is ready to take over immediately.

    McShay mocked Sam Houston State cornerback Zyon McCollum to the 49ers at No. 93 in his three-round mock made with Kiper. He wrote that McCollum could become "a reliable No. 2 cornerback early on in his career."

    The ESPN mock draft handed the 49ers two secondary players with their first two selections. That could be the avenue the San Francisco front office explores because the depth is so thin at the position.

    The 49ers could also use the No. 105 overall pick, their second in the third round, to bolster their secondary depth if a prospect like Jurgens is available in order to fill another need.

No. 105 Pick

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    There is no agreement on a specific prospect from the draft experts with regard to San Francisco's third pick of the draft. However, there is an acknowledgment that the wide receiver depth should be addressed at some point.

    McShay predicts that Purdue wide receiver David Bell will land with the 49ers at the No. 105 overall pick.

    B/R's NFL scouting staff thought along the same wavelength, as UCLA wide receiver Kyle Philips is projected to go to the 49ers at the end of the third round.

    The 49ers have plenty of top end depth at wide receiver with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but they could use some extra bodies beneath them.

    Jauan Jennings is the No. 3 wideout, and free-agent signing Ray-Ray McCloud should provide a speed burst on certain plays and help in the return game.

    Wilson went in a different direction, as he put San Diego State defensive end Cameron Thomas at No. 105. He Wilson gave the 49ers a wide receiver in the fourth round in the form of Michigan State's Jalen Nailor.

    San Francisco could target the defensive line with some of its late-round picks to get younger at the position and provide some insurance for Javon Kinlaw in case his injury recovery does not go as well as expected.

    A third-round pick spent on a wide receiver makes sense to give the 49ers more depth, and that would ease the pressure on Samuel and Aiyuk if he makes an immediate contribution.