San Francisco 49ers 2022 Season Preview


Broncos vs. 49ers preseason game at Levi’s Stadium, by Jim Bahn

49ers 2021 season recap:

Notable Players:

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo 
  • RB Elijah Mitchell
  • WR Deebo Samuel
  • TE George Kittle
  • LT Trent Williams
  • LB Fred Warner
  • DE Nick Bosa

Last season, the 49ers finished the regular season with a 10-7 record and made an appearance in the NFC Championship game, but ultimately fell short against the Los Angeles Rams 20-17. The 49ers got off to a slow start with a 3-5 record then finished the season being one of the NFL’s hottest teams winning 7 of the last 9 games of the regular season. The 49ers snuck into the postseason as a wild card team and won classic games against the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers before falling short to later-to-be Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams.  

Breakout players like Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa are indicators that 49ers fans should look forward to the 2022 season. Deebo, who had 1,405 receiving yards and 18.2 yards per reception last season, rushed for 8 touchdowns as a receiver. Bosa, on the other hand, who had 15 sacks and 21 tackles for loss (1st in the NFL) after coming off a torn ACL in the previous season. Trey Lance had 2 starts in the regular season and showed improvement in his second start, which is a good sign moving forward. 

2022 49ers Draft Class:

  • DE Drake Jackson USC
  • RB Tyrion Davis – Price LSU
  • WR Danny Gray SMU
  • OL Spencer Burford UTSA
  • CB Samuel Womack Toledo
  • OL Nick Zakelj Fordham
  • DT Kalia Davis UCF
  • CB Tariq Castro-Fields Penn State
  • QB Brock Purdy Iowa State

The 49ers did not have a first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. They traded away that pick along with a 2023 first round pick for their franchise quarterback Trey Lance. They spent their first pick on DE Drake Jackson with the 61st overall pick. Jackson was predicted to get drafted much earlier than 61 which means he could be a steal.

Previewing the 49ers Offense

Key Additions:

  • Danny Gray WR
  • Tyrion Davis-Price RB

Wide receiver Danny Gray and running back Tyrion Davis-Price were both drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. Drafting Davis-Price adds solid depth to the running back position which head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to have on his offense. Drafting Danny Gray will give quarterback Trey Lance a speedy deep threat for him to throw to. 

Key Subtractions:

  • Laken Tomlinson LG
  • Alex Mack C
  • Mike McDaniel (Offensive Coordinator)

Losing Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack are a huge blow to the offensive line. Now the 49ers have to lean on rookie Spencer Burford and first year starter Jake Brendel. The loss of former offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel may not make a huge difference in the offense, but he was a key to its success in 2021.

#1 X-Factor: QB Trey Lance

First-year starter Trey Lance enters this season with lots of talent on the offensive side of the ball. The team is stacked with great players including Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and stud second year running back Elijah Mitchell — who rushed for 963 yards, a franchise record for a rookie running back. 

In Lance’s first two starts, he has shown some flashes of talent but also has many areas to work on. Lance will have some first year starter mistakes, but he has great talent around him to help him win. As for backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo recently restructured his contract to stay with the 49ers and become a mentor for the young QB.

The main concern for the 49ers offense is the offensive line. The 49ers do not have to worry about eight time pro bowler left tackle Trent Williams. Right tackle Mike McGlinchy has his ups and downs, but the interior is a major concern heading into the 2022 season after left guard Laken Tomlinson left in free agency and center Alex Mack retired. Two first year starters will be part of the offensive line for the 49ers.

Previewing the 49ers Defense

Key Additions: 

  • Charvarius Ward CB
  • Kerry Hyder DE

The addition of cornerback Charvarius Ward was a huge improvement to the weakest part of the defense, the secondary. Ward, who was the number 1 corner for the Kansas City Chiefs, allowed a passer rating of 79.4 and just a 51.4% completion percentage.  The 49ers let go of Kerry Hyder in free agency of 2021, but decided to bring him back for the 2022 season. Hyder had a career year in 2020 with 8.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

Key Subtractions:

  • K’waun Williams CB
  • Jaquiski Tartt S
  • D.J. Jones DT

The loss of defensive backs Jaquiski Tartt and K’waun Williams is just a huge blow to a secondary that has been struggling in past seasons. Losing defensive tackle D.J. Jones was huge because he came up big in certain situations while filling in for the injured Javon Kinlaw in 2021.

#1 X-Factor: Javon Kinlaw DT

Last season, the 49ers were tied for 5th in yards per carry allowed despite losing Javon Kinlaw to a season ending knee injury. His replacement, D.J. Jones was a worthy substitute in his absence. 

This year, the 49ers drafted DE Drake Jackson. Although he may not be starting right away, he has explosiveness to his game and should give the 49ers solid depth in an already great pass rush. Defensive End Nick Bosa is coming off a 15 sack and 21 tackles for loss season and is poised to come back even better. 

The biggest weakness on this defense is the secondary. This offseason, the 49ers finally addressed the cornerback position by adding solid cornerback Charvarius Ward. Ward is coming off his best season with the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, the 49ers lost their nickel back K’waun Williams in free agency. To replace him, they drafted Samuel Womack who impressed in the preseason with 2 interceptions and was the third highest graded rookie in the preseason according to PFF (Pro Football Focus).

San Francisco 49ers Season Prediction:

The worst thing that can happen to the 49ers is if they have a season like 2020-21 where they had multiple players on IR (Injured Reserve).  

If the 49ers can stay healthy, they have all the talent they need to win the Super Bowl.  The Niners do have a challenging schedule this season. They still have to face a tough NFC West division twice and they will have to face arguably the best division in the NFL, the AFC West.

This is Trey Lance’s first season starting as a NFL quarterback so there will be games where he shows some of his rookie mistakes especially at the beginning of the season. He has a lot of talent surrounding him and an elite play caller to help him win. 

The 49ers defense has improved this season as they addressed their secondary by adding cornerback Charvarius Ward while the pass rush is still the 49ers strength on defense. The 49ers have a lot of talent this year with guys like Nick Bosa who is projected to have an even better season than last year. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was a top head coaching candidate, but decided to stay with the 49ers as their defensive play caller. Many NFL experts project the 49ers to have a top 5 defense in the NFL.

The 49ers have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. On offense, players like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, and on defense, players like Nick Bosa and Fred Warner. Although, the 49ers could still lose a few more games because of the question marks surrounding Trey Lance. Is he the real deal, or a bust?

Record Prediction: 11-6  2nd in the NFC West