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49ers go back-to-back with defensive picks to end 6th round



© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the 49ers are dead set on sitting on their hands this year. They had the honor of closing out the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft with back-to-back picks at 220 and 221.

With those picks, they doubled down on defense.

The first, at Pick 220, was UCF defensive tackle Kalia Davis who is recovering from a torn ACL. San Francisco showed pretty early interest in Davis, who obviously did not test prior to the draft due to the injury, but they must have seen something they liked and thought there was hidden value.

That could be explained, in part, by his positionally flexible history. He spent his first two years at UCF as a linebacker before converting to an edge rusher in year three and eventually moved to defensive tackle after opting out of the 2020 COVID-plagued season.

That level of positional flexibility would suggest he’s in a fairly athletic mold. He’s obviously viewed as a developmental prospect, acknowledging to reporters that he is “fairly new to the position” of defensive tackle, but flashed quick-twitch traits and ability to fire off the ball, which Kris Kocurek evidently liked.

As for the round-ending pick, San Francisco went corner again, getting Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields, who was projected by most to go a bit earlier, generally in the late fourth or fifth round.

Instead, the 49ers found him at the end of the sixth round.

A five-year player at Penn State, Castro-Fields led the team in pass deflections in 2019 and has been an All Big-Ten Honorable Mention for three-straight seasons.

He is viewed as being something of a boom-or-bust prospect due to his inconsistencies, but showed promise in press coverage.

Castro-Fields has solid size at more than six feet and 197 pounds and showed impressive speed and athleticism with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and outstanding broad jump.

He seems to be a swing-for-the-fences pick, which makes sense this late. The 49ers’ final pick is also the final pick of this year’s draft, Mr. Irrelevant, at Pick 262.