The San Francisco 49ers appeared to pull off something of a shocker at No. 9 in the 2018 NFL Draft, grabbing Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey instead of one of the top-name defenders. But subsequent moves, like trading fellow OT Trent Brown to the New England Patriots, justify the selection a lot.


Raise your hand if you were among those who felt the San Francisco 49ers would take an offensive tackle with their first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Well, that's what they did, grabbing Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 overall. Not Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11), not EDGE Marcus Davenport (No. 14), not linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (No. 16) and not defensive back Derwin James (No. 17). No, San Francisco elected to go offense and build from the trenches.

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Shocking, perhaps. It seemed like a safe pick at the time. After all, it's in the best interests of the 49ers to protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

McGlinchey appeared to be a reach -- a luxury pick after Round 1's conclusion. That was, of course, until general manager John Lynch pulled off a trade, sending starting right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots and the team's fifth-round pick, No. 143 overall, in exchange for pick No. 95 overall. News of the deal was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter and Field Yates.

OK. Now we get it.

Brown, who was heading into a contract year anyway, missed six games with various injuries last year. The most serious was a shoulder injury, which required surgery and likely influenced Brown showing up to the team's first minicamp out of shape, per DraftAnalyst.com's Tony Pauline. Sure, Brown was among the better pass-blocking tackles in the NFL last season. Pro Football Focus ranked him No. 8 among qualifiers in this category. Yet Brown's run-blocking abilities, particularly in head coach Kyle Shanahan's outside-zone scheme, weren't particularly great.

49ers Webzone's Rich Madrid highlighted this in a piece for Niner Noise prior to 2017. It's safe to assume Brown failed to improve his own stock over the course of last year.

So the McGlinchey pick makes sense from this vantage point. He's now the shoo-in starter at right tackle. And with left tackle Joe Staley turning 34 years old this August, McGlinchey may easily wind up being the six-time Pro Bowler's eventual replacement.

But what about all those secondary needs, particularly the aforementioned prospect names at safety?

Yeah, there's a reason behind the Niners passing on them too.

49ers Extending Jaquiski Tartt Negates a Need at Safety


Heading into 2018, the 49ers appeared set at safety. After all, they let veteran defensive back Eric Reid walk in free agency, poised to roll with safeties Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward and Adrian Colbert competing for the two starting jobs.

But Ward and Tartt were going to hit contract years this season. And with both landing on season-ending injured reserve a year ago, it's not hard to fathom the idea of San Francisco grabbing a safety with its first pick in the draft. A prospect like Fitzpatrick or James would have made a lot of sense, especially looking at the long-term scheme of things.

That was, of course, until the Niners inked Tartt to a two-year extension, keeping him on the roster through 2020.

Sure, the injury last year is a mild concern. Prior to that, though, Tartt appeared in 30 out of 32 possible games after being selected in Round 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft. So it's not like this is a chronic, repeated issue.

Tack on Tartt's 85.8 overall PFF grade last year -- highest among all Niners defensive backs -- and it doesn't appear safety was one of the team's pressing offseason needs.

True, San Francisco still needs help in the pass rush. Linebacker depth is a concern, and a big-bodied wide receiver to help out in the red zone would be helpful. And while the McGlinchey pickup seemed strange at first, sifting through the aftermath helps it make a lot of sense.

Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @PeterPanacy on Twitter.