On Monday, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch was asked what stood out about the wide receivers in the 2022 draft class during his press conference. His response may have illuminated a piece of the team’s strategy. Rather than citing any particular skillset or the bevy of first-round receiver prospects, Lynch pointed to the group's depth. He said, “there’s just a lot of volume to the class. And there’s a little bit of everything.”
Obviously, the Deebo Samuel trade rumors are swirling, and Lynch was doing his best on Monday to quell those speculations. Had he singled out a particular type of receiver or even noted a specific skill set, it would have fueled speculation that the 49ers were preparing to trade Samuel and had a particular wideout in mind.
With that said, Lynch’s comments do align with industry consensus. Almost no mock drafts or big boards have a wide receiver ranked higher than 10, but most have at least half a dozen going in the first 32 picks. That volume of receiver prospects is expected to continue into subsequent rounds. For the 49ers, who currently have nine draft picks, but none in the top 60, that could allow them to be a bit more patient at the position.
The 49ers' depth at wide receiver is still lacking even if they retain Samuel. San Francisco currently does not have a wide receiver on the roster who has recorded at least 300 yards in an NFL season other than Deebo and Brandon Aiyuk. In addition, while Jauan Jennings and Ray-Ray McCloud have intriguing skillsets, neither are likely to be top options.
The Niners' front office could be eyeing a surprisingly deep group of remaining free agents to solidify their depth, but adding a wideout through the draft always seemed likely. Lynch’s comments suggest San Francisco could be targeting different positions with their highest picks.
Here’s Lynch’s full quote:
“This incoming class, I think much like the draft, there’s just a lot of volume to the class. And there’s a little bit of everything, if you like speed, there’s some guys who can flat out get it. Some of the faster players that have been around since I’ve been doing this, these guys can fly. And their speed transfers to the football field. Oftentimes you can track guys and it isn’t necessarily the case. There’s some guys and it’s so interesting with the GPS readings we get now, you can see it on film, but then it’s verified. And so, I think there’s that. You think of some of the top players in the first round, there’s some bigger players who also move extremely well. So, there’s slot players that are good players. I do think there’s good versatility and there’s good depth. And so, there’s just a lot of options at the wide receiver class in this draft that it makes it a really good class.”