The San Francisco 49ers drafted offensive lineman Nick Zakelj out of Fordham with the 187th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. After adding another lineman earlier on Day 3 (Spencer Burford), the Niners added another body to their crowded room.
Zakelj was a four-year starter (and four-time All-Patriot League player) at offensive tackle for Fordham, who runs a zone-heavy scheme. As a senior this year, Zakelj turned heads with an impressive Week 1 performance against Nebraska but was inconsistent as the season went on.
The 6’6”, 316-pound offensive tackle started five seasons for the Rams. He spent most of his freshman year at right tackle before switching to the left side after his freshman year. The theme continues to be experience in case one of the starters goes down with an injury.
Zakelj rated elite in his 40-yard dash, 20-yard split, 10-yard split, and his broad jump:
Nick Zakelj was drafted with pick 187 of round 6 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.85 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 21 out of 1298 OG from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/TUjOpQpynS #RAS #49ers pic.twitter.com/jzsZNa9P3n— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Another common theme found in Zakelj’s scouting report is that he has a “tenacity to finish opponents through the whistle.” The 49ers are drafting an offensive lineman who plays ticked off.
That's two offensive linemen today. Sure, this could be viewed as insurance in the event of an injury, but somebody has been put on notice. Does that mean Justin Skule’s time is up? Colton McKivitz? Or could either of those names beat out a Day 3 rookie? We’ll see what Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch see in Zakelj.
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Center and safety are the most glaring holes left on the 49ers roster, but it might be unlikely to see San Francisco add another offensive lineman. They do have some questions about their depth at tight end but have mostly added players at their biggest areas of need in the draft.
Here are the 49ers’ remaining picks: 220, 221, 262