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NFL Draft: 49ers Draft USC Pass Rusher Drake Jackson In 2nd Round

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers invested in the pass rush once again, using their second-round pick on Southern California edge rusher Drake Jackson.

The Niners took Jackson 61st overall in the NFL draft on Friday night, marking the sixth time in the past eight drafts that they used their top pick on a defensive lineman.

Jackson had 12 1/2 sacks in three seasons for USC and adds another edge rushing option for the 49ers across from star Nick Bosa. San Francisco had hoped Dee Ford could fill that role but he has been hampered by injuries and isn't expected back next season.

Jackson had his most productive season as a freshman in 2019 when he had 5 1/2 sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss in 11 games. He then had two sacks in six games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and five sacks and eight tackles for loss in 10 games last season.

This marked the first time since 1996 that San Francisco didn't have a pick in the first round. The Niners traded their 2022 and 2023 first-rounders to Miami last year to move up nine spots to take quarterback Trey Lance third overall.

Lance spent most of last season as a backup to Jimmy Garoppolo but is expected to take over as starter this season.

There was a chance the 49ers could have gotten a first-round pick had they granted All-Pro receiver Deebo Samuel's trade request. But San Francisco opted to keep their top playmaker and hope to be able to mend their relationship and agree on a long-term extension before the start of the season.

The 49ers also have two third-round picks at No. 93 and 105.

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