What Are The San Francisco 49ers’ Team Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 28. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position is in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2022 NFL Draft hub.

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What Picks do the San Francisco 49ers have in 2022

The San Francisco 49ers have nine picks.

San Francisco 49ers Top POSITIONS OF NEED

  1. S
  2. CB
  3. OL
  4. RT Depth
  5. WR Depth

San Francisco 49ers Strength of Schedule, 2022

The San Francisco 49ers have the fourth hardest NFL strength of schedule for the 2022 NFL season.

San Francisco 49ers Offense

By Rich Hribar


Trey Lance
Jimmy Garoppolo
Nate Sudfeld

San Francisco sold out to trade up for Trey Lance with the third overall pick in last year’s draft. We only saw Lance start twice out of necessity as a rookie, but the 49ers should be moving in a direction with him as their immediate future now that he is acclimated. 

The team still has Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster as he is recovering from shoulder surgery and a hand injury. Garoppolo is carrying a $26.9 million cap charge if the 49ers retain him, cash that can be rolled over into the future or allotted to immediate extensions for Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa. Garoppolo is only $1.4 million in dead cap if eventually traded or released. 

No matter how things shake out with Garoppolo, the 49ers are not in the market for another rookie passer.


Elijah Mitchell
Trey Sermon
JaMycal Hasty
Jeff Wilson
Kyle Juszczyk (FB)
Josh Hokit (FB)

San Francisco was sixth in the league in carries (499), seventh in rushing yardage (2,166 yards), and sixth in rushing touchdowns but was a tick worse in efficiency running the ball, ranking 15th in yards per carry (4.3 yards) and 22nd in expected points added on the ground (-15.9 EPA).

Despite trading up for Trey Sermon in the third round last season, it was sixth-round pick Elijah Mitchell that was the hit for the 49ers in 2021.

Mitchell was the go-to back for the 49ers immediately when Raheem Mostert went down in Week 1 and never looked back. 

Despite missing games with three different injuries at various points of the season, any time that Mitchell was available, San Francisco went right back to featuring him. Mitchell averaged 20.5 touches per game, which was seventh in the league. 

With Mitchell being a smaller back (5’10” and 201 pounds at the combine) and forced to miss time with various injuries, will the 49ers bring in added depth versus what they were comfortable with in-house last season as insurance for Mitchell? 

This is a large part of why Deebo Samuel’s usage manifested throughout the season. The reserve backs for the 49ers simply weren’t very good in 2021. 

They are either going to give Sermon more work next season or they are adding another running back to the fold, with both of those points likely meeting in the middle somewhere. They surely will give Sermon another look to contribute, but we should also anticipate adding more competition on the back end here since only Mitchell and Sermon are signed beyond the 2022 season. 


Deebo Samuel
Brandon Aiyuk
Jauan Jennings
Ray-Ray McCloud
Jordan Matthews
Austin Mack
Connor Wedington

No wide receiver has had a season like the one Deebo Samuel had this past year. Samuel produced a 77-1,405-6 line through the air to go along with 365 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.

He went from operating as the alpha receiver in the passing game early in the year with George Kittle out of the lineup and Brandon Aiyuk in the doghouse, to chipping in out of the backfield as the season pressed on due to the exposed lack of talented depth of the San Francisco backfield last season. 

Samuel was fifth in the NFL in receiving yards despite ranking 54th in routes run and 26th in targets. He found the end zone a total of 16 times, with just three coming from inside of 10 yards.

Samuel is a one-of-one player at his position right now, and he is taking his 2021 output heading into the final season of his rookie contract and looking to maximize on an extension this offseason. 

Things did not start off strong from Brandon Aiyuk this year as he was in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse for the opening several weeks of the season. Aiyuk played just 66% of the team snaps through six games, catching nine passes total over that span. 

Then, Aiyuk managed to get back in the good graces of the staff and played 92% of the snaps over the final 11 games, with 21.6% of the team targets over that span. 

As of right now, only Aiyuk and Ray-Ray McCloud are signed for multiple seasons, but the team does have exclusive rights to Jauan Jennings, who contributed to close the season as the 49ers incorporated more 11 personnel into their offense.

More depth is required here on Day 3, with heightened insurance in play if things were to go south in extending Samuel. 


George Kittle
Charlie Woerner
Ross Dwelley
Tanner Hudson

The 49ers still have one of the best all-around tight ends in the league under contract through the 2025 season in George Kittle. 

2021 was the complete George Kittle experience. 

We had the measured display of how talented he is and the ceiling he has in his range of outcomes. From Weeks 13-15, we saw him reel off a string of games with 9-181-2, 13-151-1, and 6-93-0 on 33 total targets. 

He also missed another three games, giving him one full season played through five years in the league. 

We also had a handful of games where he was limited and outright forgotten by the 49er passing game. 

After that three-game run mentioned above, Kittle then caught just 15 passes for 168 yards total on 26 targets over the final six games of the season, getting lost in the sauce of the construct of the 49er offense. 

Behind Kittle, only Charlie Worner is signed beyond this season, but this is not a pressing area of need.


LT: Trent Williams/Jaylon Moore
LG: Aaron Banks/Colton McKivitz
C: Alex Mack/Jake Brendel
RG: Daniel Brunskill/ Justin Skule
RT: Mike McGlinchey/Alfredo Gutierrez

The 49ers were right in the middle of the league in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate metric (61%), while ranking 18th in Run Block Win Rate (70%). 

Pro Football Focus had them higher in both departments, grading out eighth overall collectively in pass blocking and second in run blocking. 

This line is still anchored by one of the best linemen in the league in Trent Williams. Williams allowed just one sack on 558 pass blocking plays in the regular season. Williams is turning 34 years old this July but is under contract through 2025.

San Francisco also has Alex Mack at center signed for the next two seasons. Mack will turn 37 years old in November during the season. Mack graded out 12th per Pro Football Focus among centers in 2021 to play 20% of the team snaps. Despite the age climbing, Mack was on the field for 100% of the snaps during the regular season. 

After reliable veterans in Williams and Mack, things get muddier across the line.

The team lost left guard Laken Tomlinson in free agency, who led the offensive line with 1,264 snaps played over the course of the full season. 

They have a potential in-house replacement in Aaron Banks, who San Francisco selected 48th overall a year ago. Banks logged just five offensive snaps as a rookie. 

Daniel Brunskill was the lowest-graded starter for the 49ers in 2021, coming in 59th among 88 qualifying guards at Pro Football Focus. Brunskill allowed a 6.4% pressure rate, which ranked 66th among guards. He also is entering the final season of his current contract. 

Mike McGlinchey is also entering the final season of his contract. McGlinchey missed the final 12 games of the season in 2021 due to a torn quad. McGlinchey has had an up-and-down start to his career after being selected ninth overall in 2018, grading out 45th among tackles last season when on the field. 

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San Francisco 49ers Defense

By Dan Pizzuta

Interior Defensive Line

Arik Armstead
Javon Kinlaw
Hassan Ridgeway
Kevin Givens
Maurice Hurst
Chris Slayton

Arik Armstead was one of the league’s best run-defending interior defenders, ranked third in ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate at the position. He also had 11 quarterback hits and six sacks as a pass rusher. Armstead has the ability to kick out wide, but with more depth at edge, he doesn’t need to.

Javon Kinlaw only played four games in 2021 before missing the rest of the season with reconstruction surgery needed on his ACL. Kinlaw has dropped weight (from 320 pounds to 300) and could be more explosive with that injury now fixed.

The 49ers will need to fill the hole left by D.J. Jones, who was another one of the league’s best run defenders inside — he was first in Run Stop Win Rate.


Nick Bosa
Samson Ebukam
Kerry Hyder
Kemoko Turay
Charles Omenihu
Dee Ford

Nick Bosa returned from a torn ACL to play all 17 games, but thanks to a deeper edge rotation, he only played 77.6% of the defensive snaps. That allowed Bosa to stay healthy and dominant. Bosa was sixth in Pass Rush Win Rate among edge rushers and also added 21 tackles for loss.

Samson Ebukam was 60th among 102 qualified edge rushers in pressure rate last season per SIS. Ebukam showed flashes of pass rush upside as a linebacker with the Rams and continued to develop as he was a full-time edge rusher in his first year with the 49ers.

Kerry Hyder served as San Francisco’s No. 2 edge in 2020 then left for Seattle but now is back to join the pass rush rotation again. Hyder had a career-high 8.5 sacks with the 49ers. He got to the quarterback often enough with the Seahawks — 11 quarterback hits — though it led to just 1.5 sacks. 

Dee Ford has only played seven games over the past two seasons and is expected to be released at some point this offseason, but he’s still currently on the roster.

Off-ball Linebacker

Fred Warner
Dre Greenlaw
Azeez Al-Shaair
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
Oren Burks
Curtis Robinson

Fred Warner remains one of the best coverage linebackers in the league. Warner’s ability opens up so many other things for the defense. Warner was 17th among linebackers in yards allowed per coverage snap and was seventh in targets allowed per coverage snap.

Dre Greenlaw only played three games and Azeez Al-Shaair slid in to play 67% of the defensive snaps. Al-Shaair made an impact all over with nine tackles for loss and five passes defensed. He re-signed on a one-year deal for 2022.

San Francisco had the seventh-highest rate of nickel defense played in 2021 at 69.1%. 


Charvarius Ward
Ambry Thomas
Emmanuel Moseley
Deommodore Lenoir
Dontae Johnson
Darqueze Dennard
Ka’dar Hollman

Charvarius Ward was the big free agent signing to improve the cornerback group. Ward ranked 46th among 93 qualified cornerbacks by Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap with the Chiefs last season. 

Ambry Thomas and Demmondore Lenoir, third- and fifth-round picks in the 2021 draft, were forced into action and had some rookie ups and downs, though there were some flashes that could be built upon in Year 2.

Emmanuel Moseley played excellent in the slot when he was on the field (55.5% of snaps) and ranked 15th among corners in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap. He’s on the second year of a two-year deal.

This group still needs some depth, at least in part to protect against what happened last season when Josh Norman led the position in snaps played.


Jimmie Ward
George Odum
Talanoa Hufanga
Tarvarius Moore

Jimmie Ward was the rock of the secondary, playing 90% of the defensive snaps in 2021. He managed his healthiest season at age-30 but enters 2022 in the final year of his contract.

San Francisco signed George Odum, who played a career-high 43% of the defensive snaps for the Colts last season. Odum is a strong special teamer and was an All-Pro for that reason in 2020.

Even if Odum plays more defense, there is still a lack of depth at the position. Ambry Thomas could play some and Jaquiski Tartt is still a free agent. Something is likely to be added here.

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