In my second installment of my 2022 mock draft series, I thought we’d make things a bit more interesting. This time around, I incorporated trades into the fold and moved around on the board a couple of different times.
Round 2, Pick 61
Kingsley Enagbare, Edge - South Carolina
Just like my first mock, I have the 49ers selecting an edge rusher with their first pick. This draft is extremely deep at the position, and a player like Enagbare at the back end of the second round is an absolute steal.
At 6’4 265 pounds, Enagbare has the requisite size to excel at the position at the next level. In addition, Enagbare is coming off of a 2021 season that saw him recognized as a semi-finalist for the Bednarik Award, which is handed out annually to the best defensive player in college football.
On top of the measurables, Enagbare’s college resume also boasts an incredible amount of consistency. Enagbare has recorded at least one pressure in 24 consecutive games, a streak that spans all the way back to the 2019 season.
Enagbare recorded multiple pressures in 16 of his last 20 games and had at least four pressures in 11 of those contests. This level of consistent production while playing in the toughest conference in the country simply cannot be overlooked.
49ers send 2022 3rd round pick (93) & 2022 6th round pick (221) to Dallas in exchange for Pick 88
Round 3, Pick 88
Cole Strange, IOL - Tennessee Chattanooga
A trade! With the 49ers sitting at 93, they send a sixth-round pick to the Cowboys, so they can move up five spots and land what I believe to be one of the better interior offensive linemen in this class.
Strange has started at left guard for the majority of the last five seasons but possesses the versatility to lineup anywhere on the interior. Strange was named to the second-team All-Southern Conference three times and a first-team nod in his most recent season.
Strange was also the top offensive lineman in the Southern Conference in back-to-back seasons, winning the Jacobs Blocking Award in 2020 and 2021.
This pick gives the 49ers much-needed insulation on the interior of their offensive line in the short term and the potential of a perennial starter at either guard spot in the long term. This is the kind of move you make to protect your investment in Trey Lance and give an immediate boost to an offensive line that just lost a fixture with the departure of Laken Tomlinson.
Round 3, Pick 105
Cordale Flott, Cornerback - LSU
Best player available is usually my philosophy, but the 49ers still have a couple of areas of need in the secondary that has to be addressed. Continuing to get younger on the backend isn’t a terrible course of action at this point either.
Flott gives them a little bit of both as a player who provides good length and the pedigree that comes with being a multi-year starter at LSU. Flott was the primary nickel cornerback for the Tigers’ defense in 2021, a role that is essentially a starter within their scheme.
Flott has good length at 6’2 and showed plus ability in coverage. With the loss of K’Waun Williams, Flott gives the 49ers an athletic replacement who can step in on day one to fill the role vacated by Williams.
The tackling ability Flott possesses is key as well, as Williams is one of the better slot corners within the box in the entire NFL. While the nickel role would be perfect for Flott, he also has the ability to lineup out wide as well. A versatile player in the secondary with strong potential is a great get here at the backend of round three.
49ers send 2022 4th round pick (134) & 2022 7th round pick (262) to Tennessee in exchange for a 4th round pick (143) & 2022 6th round pick (204)
With nobody standing out on the board for me here, I moved back nine spots in the fourth round while also moving up 58 spots in the backend of day three. Part of my strategy with these mock drafts will be to move around a bit and not always make all nine selections.
I also wanted to move up a bit off the back end of the draft where the 49ers enter, having picks 220, 221, and 262. With this move, I’m able to stay in the fourth round while also turning the final pick in the draft at 262 into a mid 6th round selection at 204.
Round 4, Pick 143
Leon O’Neal Jr., Safety - Texas A&M
O’Neal is one of my favorite prospects in this entire draft class. This pick fills an immediate need on the backend and gives Jimmie Ward a running mate who can step in and make an impact from day one.
O’Neal is a player whose game tape popped every time I turned on the film, constantly displaying a high football IQ and awareness level. On top of those intangibles, O’Neal is a player whose game speed is far more impressive than the testing numbers he put out at his pro day or the combine would lead you to believe.
All that matters to me is what you look like when the helmet and pads come on, and O’Neal was a player who regularly delivered on the gridiron. O’Neal looked great in man coverage and has the ball-hawking skills that are required to play the position at a high level in the NFL.
O’Neal’s tremendous burst and the physicality to play strong within the box make him an ideal selection to fill the role vacated by longtime starter Jaquiski Tartt. This is a really good football player, and I’m surprised he isn’t getting more buzz.
Round 5, Pick 172
Derrick Deese Jr., Tight End - San Jose State
This name should ring a few bells, as Derrick’s father played in San Francisco for 12 seasons between 1992 through 2003.
The 49ers would benefit from insulating their tight end room, and Deese gives them a player with ideal size at the position. At 6’4 235 pounds, Deese has noticeably long arms and the ability to attack the football at the catch point.
With a little bit of time and some coaching up, Deese can project into a solid number two tight end in this offense.
Round 6, Pick 187
D’vonte Price, Running back - Florida International
With a committee approaches likely being the plan of attack for the ground game in 2022, the 49ers add some much-needed burst to their current running back room.
Price clocked in a 4.38 40 yard dash at the combine, which is extremely impressive when you consider the measures in at 6’1 210 pounds—a natural runner with a good feel for patiently letting blocks develop.
Price not only adds an added dynamic to the current group, but he also has the measurables and the speed to develop into this team’s primary ball carrier sometime down the line.
Round 6, Pick 204
Jalen Nailor, Wide Receiver - Michigan State
The 49ers have four receivers who are essentially a lock to make the final 53 man roster, but there is a lack of clarity beyond that. Nailor is a player who fits the Shanahan mold, a strong yards after catch receiver who is not afraid to go over the middle.
Nailor’s 10.5 yards after catch per reception in 2021 ranked first in the entire country among wide receivers with at least 30 receptions on the season. Nailor finished 2020 ranked first in the Big Ten in yards per catch with 19.8 and followed that up by finishing second in 2021 at 18.8 yards per catch.
Nicknamed “Speedy,” Nailor brings the YAC ability and big-play potential that could make him an impact player in the San Francisco offense.
Round 6, Pick 220
C.J. Wright, DI - Georgia Southern
The 49ers wrap up their 2022 draft haul by solidifying the interior of their defensive line. Wright provides the 49ers quality depth at the nose tackle position, with added upside as a player who’s shown an ability to get after the quarterback through the A gap.
Wright logged six games with multiple pressures in 2021 and finished the season with six sacks. On top of the pass-rushing ability, Wright also was very stout against the run. All in all, a very well-rounded player who is a great value at the back end of the sixth round.