Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season at all times. Those managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. A large portion of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager that is in tune with the entire draft class as a whole will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2022 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes. This one is about one of the run-happiest, overperforming, shocking teams, the San Francisco 49ers.
The draft order used in this article reflects the order before NFL Week 12. Credit to the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are generated from Draft Network. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be included in this exercise.
2021 Season Recap
The San Francisco 49ers entered this season in flux. Teams, fans, and media were all wondering when Jimmy Garappolo’s time as the starter for the 49ers would come to an end. They were anxious to see rookie Trey Lance play, especially after the 49ers dealt three first-round picks to acquire him. However, aside from two miserable starts by Lance during the time Jimmy G was hurt, everyone would have to wait until next year potentially to see Lance start.
Why? Well, the 49ers outperformed expectations immensely. Jimmy G, Deebo Samuel, and the defense led San Fran to the playoffs as a wild card team. They had to overcome a 17 point deficit to beat the Rams to get there. Then, they beat the Cowboys. Their most challenging battle yet against the Green Bay Packers in a snow game proved their grit as they were able to come back and win. Next up was the NFC Championship against those Rams. The 49ers did great until the end when they collapsed, with it finishing due to a Jimmy G interception.
So how did they get that far besides Garappolo? Samuel became a fantastic, wide-running back-receiver and proved he’s a beast out on the field. Elijah Mitchell took over for an injured Raheem Mostert to lead the team in rushing and vastly outplayed his sixth-round draft capital. George Kittle came back from injury with a vengeance. Nick Bosa played like a contender for Comeback Player of the Year, and Fred Warner once again showed why he’s the best inside linebacker in the game. There aren’t many obvious needs for the 49ers, but there are a few.
The 49ers are rough at the cornerback spot, which is how the Rams beat them. They lost players to injuries and had to start rookies who weren’t ready. I’m not sure any of those starters against the Rams would be starting on any other playoff team. Furthermore, their safety’s struggled too. Jimmie Ward is getting older, and Jaquiski Tartt is hitting free agency after yet another injury-plagued year.
Another young tackle to back up elder Trent Williams and a guard to potentially replace either Laken Tomlinson (free-agent-to-be) or struggling Daniel Brunskill. Finally, some more edge-rushing help in a deep edge rusher class would be a boon to Nick Bosa and help their defense a ton. This helps cover up their lack of a cornerback room.
The 49ers have limited picks in this draft, so they better nail it, or else they might fail to reach their goal next year. Especially in an ultra-competitive NFC West division.
2.63 – Drake Jackson, EDGE USC
If Drake Jackson winds up here, it’s a steal. It’s a smash pick that should only take seconds for the 49ers to decide upon. Jackson is a great athlete, able to pass rush and drop back in coverage if needed. If he got to play alongside Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa, Jackson could put up 10+ sacks in year one.
Jackson is still building his power and run-stopping moves, which will be aided by good coaching and the fact he won’t be forced into a huge role from the start. He can learn while still hitting the QB often. His hips are fluid, and he can easily move to any spot on the field. His versatility is excellent and will allow the 49ers to disguise schemes even more. However, he has to improve his hand counters and tackling. In the NFL, you have to finish your tackles. Regardless, this would be a wiry steal of a pick for the 49ers that would make their defensive front four just that much more unfair.
As for IDP leagues, Jackson would be a smash late first, early second in rookie drafts. You always want pass rushers on pass-rushing heavy teams like the 49ers. Plus, you know he’ll rack up the stats as teams try to double-team Bosa and Armstead. Get Drake on your team.
3.93 – Coby Bryant, DB Cincinnati
Coby Byrant, named after the late great Kobe Bryant, had a stellar year for the Bearcats. He teamed up with Ahmad Gardner to help lead the Bearcats to the college football playoffs. It was a true underdog story in which they never reached the top four, despite being undefeated, until the final week of the season. Regardless, Bryant would be a steal for the San Francisco 49ers in the late third round.
Why? Well, I’ll tell you. Bryant got the Jim Thorpe Award this past season. This means that he knows how to play cornerback, or at the very least, safety. He’s a ball-hawking machine as he had ten interceptions in 45 starts and the second-most passes defended in Cincy’s program history (45). It’s impressive that he averaged one pass defended a game.
Bryant would immediately be their top corner or safety, depending on where they put him. He struggles with tackling but is a solid athlete who can cover anyone and track the ball like a hawk. He can play man or zone, which fits the 49ers scheme. Plus, he’s excellent at staying patient and mimicking the receiver’s route to allow him to get the best access to the ball.
I see Bryant as a great free safety or CB2 that can take risks but mainly plays for interceptions. He’s a better version of Trevon Diggs in that he can cover guys. In IDP, I’d have Bryant as a late second/early third. He’s a great taxi piece as he develops and blossoms in year twp after he gets his position settled and his feet wet.
4.132- Matt Hankins, CB Iowa
Hankins is a player that any team would be lucky to grab on day three. He could be a starting corner if his football IQ improves. His playing style is frenzied but he keeps it under control and he’s a ton of fun to watch. Hankins gets all over the field and will level players when he tackles.
San Fran will love his aggressiveness and use it to serve their defense better. He’s versatile and can be used all a defense. A starter since 2017, he’s well-prepped for the NFL and could start day one on the outside for the 49ers. In IDP, I really like Hankins; he had at least 40 tackles every season in college. Tackles give him a safe floor for IDP. A steal if that happens for the 49ers and your dynasty IDP team.
5.170- Dare Rosenthal, OT Kentucky
Every team in the NFL needs plenty of offensive line depth, and the San Francisco 49ers are no different. Getting a potential starter at the right guard or tackle in the fifth round is a dream, though. Rosenthal could be that starter to fulfill a dream. The Kentucky red-shirt Junior is 6’7″ and 327 pounds. Talk about a monster to have to shred a block off of. He helped lead Kentucky to another bowl game this year. The 49ers run a bunch of zone reads, power sweeps, and shifts/motions.
Additionally, they have a shotgun offense for incoming QB Lance. Well, that just so happens to be the perfect style of offense for Rosenthal. Couple that with the fact that the 49ers just saw their right side of their O-Line get decimated by the Rams, and this is a good pick.
Rosenthal is a precise blocker that knows how to find leverage and deliver that pancake. He plays fast, hard, and is smooth in pass blocking. He is not afraid of being beaten or adjusting to what the defender is doing. Rosenthal’s run blocking is fair but could improve with some good coaching. Likewise, having a fiery motor will help him push defenders into the ground as his backs run by. His only true weakness is that he can be tall in his blocks and get tight with his hips. That’ll get fixed with NFL conditioning and coaching. Getting a stud tackle this late in the draft would be huge.
6.186- Justyn Ross, WR Clemson
Ross is a great WR. Well, that is only true when he is on the field. Unfortunately for him, he’s had many injuries. Ross missed the entire 2020 season due to a neck injury. This injury required his neck to fuse to his spine. Honestly, it’s impressive he can still play football. If he can get back to what he was, a Y-Receiver who reminds me of Mike Williams, then this is a great pick. Ross has tremendous size, speed, and natural ball skills. He fits a Clemson-Esque offense full of RPOs and play-action. Hmmm, that reminds me of the 49ers.
Ross is a high-point WR that, if he breaks loose, can generate a ton of YAC. With a rough young QB in Lance, all he’ll have to do is locate the ball within the general area for Ross, and he’ll catch it. I think he would give the 49ers a great presence by being a huge WR to create matchup issues. This is due to defenses covering Kittle, Samuel, and Aiyuk. In Dynasty, he’s worth a third-round pick. Put him in your taxi and wait for him to develop into a monster, hopefully.
Fantasy Analysis on the San Francisco 49ers Draft
While this draft would solve many of their issues, the San Francisco 49ers must sign some free agents. The 49ers’ defense is set to be a big issue in the NFC West for years if they get two of the top corners in the draft and Jackson. Then, Lance gets a shiny new toy in Ross to help both their developments.
Finally, the 49ers need some offensive line help. That help arrives in a vastly underrated OG in Rosenthal. The 49ers will go as far as their QB takes them, which is up to Lance. If he can prove he’s worth that package, the 49ers are Super Bowl contenders. If he can’t, well, Kyle Shannahan might be looking for a new job in a year or two. Regardless, this would be a great draft, especially for those IDP players out there.
In IDP, this would add one player to the first-round must-draft list and two more to the late-second/early-third draft list. Furthermore, Ross would be a big name to draft in the third round in a regular dynasty. Getting Rosenthal will help Lance have time in the pocket and give Mitchell/Samuel more holes to run through. That helps your dynasty team a lot.
Conclusion on the San Francisco 49ers Draft
I think we can all agree that if the 49ers get Jackson, that defensive front isn’t fair. Russell Wilson, if this happens, I hope you’re wearing body armor. Here’s hoping the 49ers get this draft! Good Luck, 49ers and their fans, and be on the lookout for more mock drafts with a dynasty twist!
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