The draft is officially over, and the 49ers are now filling out the 90-man roster with a flurry of undrafted free agent signings. Prior to the draft, I did a handful of mock drafts that included six players who were ultimately selected or signed as undrafted free agents by the 49ers.
I went back and pulled each selection and the breakdowns I did from my mocks for those six players to help paint a better picture of the newest members of the 49ers by having it all in one place.
The Danny Gray pick was from a mock that explored the hypothetical situation the 49ers would have faced in this draft had they traded Deebo Samuel
Danny Gray, Wide receiver - SMU
Drafted - 3rd round, pick 105
I don’t envy any player at the receiver position who would hypothetically get drafted after the 49ers trade Samuel. Regardless of the capital invested, they will be looked at as the player picked to replace a generational talent. I want to make it clear that there is not a receiver in this class who can step in from day one and have the level of impact Samuel did.
However, Gray doesn’t have to be the next Deebo to help this offense, simply being the first Danny Gray would be enough to boost the 49ers’ passing attack. One thing the 49ers have been lacking is a true deep threat that is capable of taking the top off of a defense consistently.
Gray is that guy, recording a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. Gray has an immense amount of north-to-south speed and could be a very important complementary piece in a passing attack with a quarterback that has the arm talent to challenge defenses vertically.
This pick helps insulate a wide receiver room recovering from the loss of Samuel and gives the 49ers a player who could have a nice future as a second or third option in the passing game on this team.
Spencer Burford, Tackle - UTSA
Drafted - 4th round, pick 134
One of my favorite prospects in this draft, Burford has all the physical traits to develop into an impact player on the 49ers’ offensive line. At 6’5 295 pounds, Burford is extremely fluid and would be a fantastic fit for the aggressive outside zone-based rushing attack utilized by the 49ers.
Burford was first-team All-Conference USA in 2021, during a season in which he only allowed one sack on 338 pass-blocking attempts. With the uncertainty surrounding Mike McGlinchey’s future with the team beyond this season, Burford provides the 49ers the chance to develop their own contingency plan for the position in-house over the next year or so.
Brock Purdy, Quarterback - Iowa State
Drafted - 7th round, pick 272
Even with Nate Sudfeld getting two million guaranteed in 2022, I think the 49ers would be wise to add a quarterback in this draft. Purdy isn’t going to blow anyone away with his arm, but he is an experienced player who showed strong decision-making skills during his 46 consecutive games-started streak to close out his collegiate career.
Think Nick Mullens 2.0, with a bit more upside. Once upon a time, teams were willing to part with draft capital to acquire and had spurts where he was a serviceable stopgap as a backup quarterback.
Jason Poe, IOL - Mercer
Signed - UDFA
With the uncertainty surrounding Alex Mack’s future, and the lack of defined roles on the interior of the offensive line at the moment, the 49ers decided to add another promising guard prospect.
Poe is freakishly fast for his size and has a very impressive physical makeup from a traits standpoint. Poe didn’t attend the scouting combine, but here’s how his testing numbers would have stacked up against the offensive line group in this draft class. Rank amongst this class in parentheses.
40-yard dash - 4.89 seconds (2nd)
Benchpress - 34 reps (1st)
Vertical - 31.5 inches (5th)
Broad Jump - 9’3” (10th)
Poe’s eye-popping athletic gifts have actually led to teams toying with the idea of deploying the nimble 300-pounder as a fullback. Here’s what Poe had to say about his potential usage in the backfield.
“They’ve never seen anything like this,” Poe told HERO Sports. “Usually, you take a d-linemen or a linebacker, and you put him in the backfield, and he can play fullback. They’ve never seen an offensive lineman that’s athletic enough and knows how to do the job of a fullback. I’m a unique guy. A lot of teams like me at guard or center. But some teams like me at fullback.”
Poe projects as a solid option anywhere on the interior, but there seems to be a very realistic possibility that he is actually going to be used occasionally as a fullback. Think about how fun it would be to see Kyle Shanahan scheming up a 300-pound wrecking ball as a lead blocker out of the backfield.
Dohnovan West, Center Arizona State
Signed - UDFA
All signs point to Alex Mack returning in 2022, but the 49ers plan ahead with this pick by selecting their center of the future. West would be a phenomenal heir apparent at the position, coming in at 6’4 300 pounds with the agility to operate in space at a high level in an outside zone attack.
West was strong in pass protection as well in 2021, only allowing four pressures on 372 pass-blocking snaps. This one is a no-brainer, adding depth to the offensive line while also potentially setting Trey Lance up with his running mate for the next half-decade.
Leon O’Neal Jr., Safety - Texas A&M
Signed - UDFA
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 strongly 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.