There aren’t many teams that can say they’ve gotten as much production out of their rookie class as the 49ers have this season. Despite not having a first-round pick, the Niners have gotten significant contributions out of four rookies, while others have played meaningful snaps.
Let’s grade this year’s rookie class.
Drake Jackson - B
Jackson has been used primarily on passing downs to start his career. According to PFF’s true pass sets, Jackson has 13 pressures, four sacks, two QB hits, seven hurries, and leads the team with four batted passes.
The only reason he’s graded as a “B” is due to his playing time. As he plays more, there’s no doubt his impact will grow under the tutelage of Kris Kocurek.
Samuel Womack - C+
Womack began the season as the starting slot cornerback. His role has switched to one of the best players on special teams. Deommodore Lenoir wrestled the starting job away before Jimmie Ward returned.
Lenoir must have excelled in practice. Womack only allowed 71 passing yards on 11 receptions which is good for an allowed passer rating of 68.5. His demotion speaks to the depth of this roster, as well as the teams’ confidence in Lenoir.
To Womack’s credit, he contributes very well on special teams and has never pouted.
Spencer Burford - B+
Currently, Burford and Daniel Brunskill are in a rotation for playing time. Burford shined in training camp and emerged as the starter next to Mike McGlinchey.
Brunskill returned from injury and began to rotate for entire drives in Burford’s place. In 140 true pass sets, Burford hasn’t allowed a sack and allowed four hits and six hurries, according to PFF.
There have been some rookie learning moments for Burford. However, it seems the front office has hit on a potential starter for many years.
Danny Gray - INC.
Evaluating Gray’s season has been impossible, with Gray dealing with an injury plus not seeing the field.
Gray flashed in the preseason with Trey Lance but has yet to show he can consistently run routes with polish. Shanahan will roll with his more trustworthy options at this point.
It’s hard to say this pick is a miss. It’s far easier to say we don’t have enough information.
Ty Davis-Price - D
Third-round picks are expected to contribute. The 49ers have selected a running back in back-to-back drafts. Trey Sermon is no longer a 49er. TDP can’t crack the rotation.
Christian McCaffrey’s addition pushed everyone down a slot. Even with Jeff Wilson’s trade to Miami, TDP has been a healthy scratch for much of the season. Also, he dealt with an injury. Deebo Samuel also handles rushing duties, as does Jordan Mason.
Sitting at 37 rushing yards on 16 rushing attempts for an AVG of 2.3 yards is brutal.
Jordan Mason - B
After making the initial 53-man roster, the buzz surrounding Mason’s impressive camp was proven true. Although, fans have been clamoring for more rushing attempts for Mason. He contributed on special teams while waiting for his number to be called.
His reputation is leaning towards being “the closer,” as evidenced by his game-sealing long run on Thursday night. However, he runs hard, has great vision, and has earned a role on this playoff team.
He will be vital in January. The hardest thing to do is run the ball when the defense knows it’s coming. But it doesn’t seem to be an issue for Mason.
Brock Purdy - A
Generally, when teams get down to their third-string QB, things fall apart. Not for the 49ers and Brock Purdy. This team gets praised for the depth of the roster. There is no better example than their QB room.
Purdy has filled in more than admirably. Looking much more like a veteran than “Mr. Irrelevant.” It’s Purdy’s show from here on out. It has been a fun ride.
If Purdy continues his fine play, there’s no doubt that next year’s training camp will be centered around a QB competition.
It’s a good problem to have.