The San Francisco 49ers hold the ninth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. What player makes sense for the up-start Niners? Let's take a look at the top-10 picks and analyze likely scenarios below.


Mock drafts are some of the most fun pieces to write as a sports writer. A little background: I began mocking the draft seriously in 2011. Every year I mock an entire first round. The first round of the NFL Draft is where all the action is. Round 1 mocks are the most fun because the first round is held in Primetime on a Thursday night now. For this mock though, I'll analyze only the top-10 because that's where my focus has been. Let's get after it.

1. Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold, QB, USC


When Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is present at Darnold's Pro Day, and he performs well in the rain, the pick is in.

Support this writer and shop Amazon

2. *Trade* Bufflo Bills (from New York Giants) - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA


Multiple reports have the Bills moving into the top-5 of this draft. The most logical trade partner is the Giants, who own the second-overall selection. General manager David Gettleman said, "We're going to do it piece by piece, and if the right guy is there, we'll make a move." Gettleman also talked about landing a player worthy of being the second pick in "a draft," one that would be seen as a future Hall-of-Famer. I don't get that feel from this draft. So, the Giants move down with the Bills, who come up for a quarterback.

3. New York Jets - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma


The Jets made the trade with Indianapolis for one reason and one reason only - to take a quarterback. The only question is, "which quarterback do they take?" I believe that NFL teams like Baker Mayfield more than the media, and the Johnny Manziel comparisons are outrageous to me. Absolutely bonkers. Mayfield becomes the next Joe Namath, comparing more favorably to Drew Brees in height and accuracy, than Manziel in being an off-the-field problem.

4. Cleveland Browns - Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State


The one thing I agree with from Colin Cowherd's Mock Draft 6.0 is: NFL GM's look for left tackles and pass-rushers after quarterbacks. The Browns have a bevy of draft picks and new general manager John Dorsey will get an offensive and defensive cornerstone with each of his top-5 selections - a quarterback and a player that chases quarterbacks.

5. Denver Broncos - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State


The best player on most analysts draft boards can't possibly fall past a team looking to trade their starting tailback, can he? No. The Broncos offense has been atrocious for several years now and they'll look to remedy that with this pick. They get an explosive playmaker to help new starting quarterback Case Keenum, while continuing to develop Paxton Lynch, in hopes he doesn't bust (good luck).

6. Indianapolis Colts - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State


This is an interesting pick on a couple of levels. Second-year general manager Chirs Ballard broke down the Colts trade with the Jets for Colts.com. During his interview, Ballard said, "It would have to be a pretty attractive offer to move away from six because of the player we think we're going to get."

Let the speculation begin!

Most mocks have Bradley Chubb or Quenton Nelson to the Colts at pick No. 6. What if Ballard goes to the well for the second-straight year? What do I mean? Last year, the Colts selected Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 15th-overall pick. The Colts secondary is decimated. Cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Rashan Melvin both left in free agency. The Colts have no corners capable of covering No. 1 receivers. Ward becomes a logical selection and fills a huge hole on the Colts defense.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama


Fitzpatrick is a defensive back because he can play any position in the secondary, and has played some linebacker for the Crimson Tide as well. The Bucs need safety help bad, but they also need corners. Brent Grimes is on a one-year contract, and Vernon Hargreaves hasn't really panned out. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times breaks this pick down very well. To me, Fitzpatrick is too versatile to pass on.

8. Chicago Bears - Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame


Objectively and unbiasedly, I must give my draft crush for the San Francisco 49ers to the Bears. Former Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand is on new head coach Matt Nagy's staff as the team's new offensive line coach. Interesting tidbit - Hiestand was the Bears' offensive line coach in 2005 as well. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune told the story here. It makes this pick too logical.

One trade scenario: Analyzing the draft order, I noticed that the Arizona Cardinals and Bears had shared recent trades. Some of the Bears picks are from Arizona and vice-versa. The Cardinals also have four picks in the first three rounds and eight overall, while the Bears have seven overall but are missing a third-rounder because of their trade with the 49ers. Could the Bears and Cardinals strike a deal, sending Arizona into the top-10 as they chase a long-term solution at quarterback? This could be the only chance the 49ers have of landing Nelson because a trade up for a guard just doesn't make sense.

9. San Francisco 49ers - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia


The 49ers drafted four of the 30 players that officially visited the team last year. Smith has visited the 49ers this year. Our own David Bonilla wrote about how the 49ers currently view the Reuben Foster situation. It makes sense for the 49ers to draft Smith and have Foster play weak-side linebacker once he returns from suspension. Smith won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker in 2017.

10. Oakland Raiders - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech


The second-straight linebacker comes off the board at pick No. 10. The Raiders signed Tahir Whitehead in free agency but NaVorro Bowman, the team's starting middle linebacker last season, remains a free agent. The Raiders need someone to man the middle of their defense and Edmunds can also rush the passer.

That wraps it up. Look forward to mocking an entire first round before the draft. Let me know what you think on Twitter @chanchan1056.