ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper released his first mock draft on Thursday and has the San Francisco 49ers going defense with their first-round selection.

While the 49ers' draft spot will be determined by a coin flip with the Oakland Raiders during the NFL Scouting Combine, Kiper has them selecting ninth overall. They could be choosing tenth if they lose the tiebreaker.

As for the actual mock pick, Kiper has the 49ers selecting cornerback Denzel Ward of Ohio State. He wrote the following about the selection:

"The 49ers have a really solid young core on defense, but most of their top picks were spent on the front seven. They really need a top-tier cornerback. Ward is the top corner in this class -- if you consider Fitzpatrick to be a safety -- though I don't have as high a grade on him as I did for his former teammate Marshon Lattimore, who went No. 11 last year and had a great rookie season in New Orleans. Ward flashed in 2016 and had a tremendous junior season."

Ward, who is an underclassman, has appeared in 26 games over three seasons with Ohio State. During that time, he has 67 combined tackles, two for a loss, two interceptions, and 24 passes defensed, according to Sports Reference.

The 2018 NFL Draft takes place April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be the first draft to take place in an NFL stadium.