The 49ers announced their final 53-man roster at the end of August 2021, with each draft pick making the roster. We have the offseason, training camp, and the preseason to figure out which of the rookies from the 2022 draft class will make the roster.
How many rookies will make the 53-man roster?
We’ll have a way-too-early 53-man prediction this week. But, before that, let’s narrow it down to which rookies will make the roster. Drake Jackson, Ty Davis-Price, and Danny Gray are all locks. As of today, the final six draft picks are a coin flip.
The 49ers drafted two offensive linemen. That’s them telling us they need to improve their depth at the position. It’s also insurance in case either offensive tackle misses time. Mike McGlinchey’s injury is on the forefront of everyone’s memory since he just missed half of the 2021 regular season.
All-Pro and all-everything left tackle Trent Williams will be 34 once training camp starts. Williams is a unicorn and has already overcome a battle with cancer, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2013. The Niners wisely invested in two contingency plans at offensive tackle.
Tom Compton served as the team’s swing tackle the previous two seasons. He’s a Denver Bronco. The 49ers kept two backup tackles on the roster last season. Jaylon Moore was the other, but he’s set to compete at right guard.
What rookies Nick Zakelj and Spencer Burford have going for them is they can both slide inside at guard or live at tackle for a game. Zaeklj is a five-year senior, and Burford started 43 games. Experience and athleticism make me think both players are better fits for what Shanahan asks of his offensive lineman.
The Niners have been taking swings on Day 3 offensive linemen more and more under Shanahan/John Lynch. Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari was a fourth-round pick. Browns All-Pro guard Wyatt Teller was drafted with the 29th pick in the fifth round.
The list goes on as far as high-caliber offensive linemen selected on Day 3. You could field an above-average offensive line with Day 3 picks. Based on the positional value, it’s worth taking multiple swings.
Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir, and Davontae Harris were the six cornerbacks to make the opening roster last year. Samuel Womack and Tariq Castro-Fields have to bring more to the table than Darqueze Dennard — who Fred Warner said would start in the slot before the draft — Dontae Johnson, and both rookies from last year.
If Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, and Jason Verrett are the top three, cornerback could turn into an entertaining yet significant battle. The Niners drafted for athleticism as speed. The rookies and Thomas all have the upper hand in both categories. But sound tackling and understanding where to be on the field could save Dennard or Johnson.
DT Kalia Davis is expected to start on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list while Brock Purdy would have to be better than Nate Sudfeld and his $2 million in guaranteed salary.
How many of the 49ers' draft picks do you think will make the roster?