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Top four prospects among mock drafts for 49ers’ first-round pick

Mar 31, 2018 at 8:34 AM--

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We've surveyed nearly 60 online mock drafts and tallied which four players are the most popular choices for the San Francisco 49ers at the ninth-overall pick in next month's draft. The mock drafts include big-name sites like ESPN,, and others to smaller independent sites.

Below are the top four projections for the 49ers among the mock drafts we examined.

4) S Derwin James, Florida State

Height: 6-3
Weight: 215 lbs.

Combine Results
40-time: 4.47 seconds
Vertical: 40 inches
Broad jump: 132 inches
Bench press: 21 reps

James is among the top safeties in the draft, if not the top one. The position may not be among the 49ers' biggest needs, but the team doesn't always draft based on need. We have no idea what general manager John Lynch, head coach Kyle Shanahan, and company will do. If they feel James – or any other player – fills a future need and not an immediate one, they may take advantage of the opportunity.

Lance Zierlein of NFL Network compares James to the Kansas City Chiefs' three-time All-Pro safety Eric Berry. James compiled 186 combined tackles, 15 passes defensed, and three interceptions in three seasons with the Seminoles. However, he missed all but two games in 2016 due to a meniscus tear.

James returned in 2017 and registered 84 combined tackles, 5.5 for loss, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and a blocked kick, which earned him first-team All-ACC honors.

3) DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Height: 6-1
Weight: 201 lbs.

Combine Results
40-time: 4.46 seconds
Vertical: 33 inches
Broad jump: 121 inches
Bench press: 14 reps

"San Francisco picked up Richard Sherman before free agency started, but its defensive backfield still isn't set," writes ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who has the 49ers selecting Fitzpatrick in his latest mock. "The 49ers could take the versatile Fitzpatrick and use him in a hybrid safety role in which he plays some slot corner, too. He's a true playmaker with the size and athleticism to play any position in the secondary."

The 49ers like versatile players like Fitzpatrick because it allows the team to get more out of each roster spot.

"The game is much more spread out," general manager John Lynch said at the combine. "They throw the football much more. It's played much more in space. And so, you better have players who can operate in space and who can do a number of different things. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a guy that is highly thought of, and we feel the same about him, but that versatility that he brings is something special."

Fitzpatrick registered 171 combined tackles with 16.5 for a loss, five sacks, nine interceptions, 24 passes defensed, and two forced fumbles in three seasons with Alabama, according to Sports Reference. He also returned four of those nine interceptions for touchdowns.

2) CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

Height: 5-10
Weight: 191 lbs.

Combine Results
40-time: 4.32 seconds
Vertical: 39 inches
Broad jump: 136 inches
Bench press: 16 reps

"Ward is polished, though he's not huge like 6-2 Ahkello Witherspoon, San Francisco's third-round pick last year," wrote Kiper in an earlier version of his mock. "Ward had two interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 2017, and he plays the ball well and has good instincts."

Ward is one of NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's favorite players in the draft, and he feels the cornerback has a legitimate chance to fall to the 49ers with teams moving up to make a run on quarterbacks.

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

1) LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Height: 6-5
Weight: 253 lbs.

Combine Results
40-time: 4.54 seconds
Broad jump: 117 inches
Bench press: 19 reps

"The 49ers have invested heavily on the defensive line high in previous drafts, but I think they look to the second level of the defense here," writes ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay in his latest mock. "And Edmunds is a gift at No. 9. At 6-foot-4, 254 pounds, he has elite speed (4.47 40) and athleticism -- and he's only 19. Edmunds has the ability to play off the ball on first and second downs and rush the QB on obvious passing downs."

Edmunds registered 213 combined tackles, 33 for a loss, 10 sacks, an interception, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in three seasons with the Hokies, according to Sports Reference.

"Edmunds is 19 years old," Jeremiah said last week during an interview with KNBR. "He's 6-4, 250. He can run all day long. You just don't see guys like that very often, and at 19 years old, he's not even close to being what he's going to become. So I'm a big fan of his, and I think that would be a home run pick."


  • Which of these potential draft picks excites you the most?
  • LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
  • DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
  • S Derwin James, Florida State
  • None
  • CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
  • 1,981 votes

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