The San Francisco 49ers made their first selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, adding USC edge rusher Drake Jackson with the 61st overall pick. While Jackson was a linebacker at USC, he will shift to the front-four in the Niners' scheme. Jackson turned 21 earlier this month and is one of the youngest players in this year’s class.
Jackson was a significant contributor over all three of his seasons at USC, earning a freshman All-American selection. He played in 27 games and recorded 103 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, and two interceptions over his career with the Trojans.
Jackson gives the 49ers another pass rusher. This is the sixth time in eight drafts the 49ers have used a selection on a defensive lineman. This is what they do.
Drake Jackson fits the 49ers’ profile for a defensive lineman to a tee: he has the length and the size, athleticism and first step, and plays his butt off. He’s also 21. Have to imagine Kocurek will get a lot out of him. The best part is Arik Armstead gets to live inside all season at defensive tackle.
What does this mean for Samson Ebukam, who could be cut or traded for $6.5 million in salary cap savings? The Niners are incredibly deep at edge rusher. Will he be around? Here’s the list of defensive linemen on the roster:
Big Board Rankings:
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): 70
Danny Kelly (The Ringer): 52
Dane Brugler (The Athletic): 63
Consensus Board: 64
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Center, guard, safety, and nickel corner are the most glaring holes left on the 49ers roster, but they do have some questions about their depth at tackle, tight end, wide receiver, and running back.
Here are the 49ers remaining picks: 93, 105, 134, 172, 187, 220, 221, 262