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Todd McShay Explains Why 49ers Should Draft LB Tremaine Edmunds

Posted Mar 7, 2018

ESPN's draft expert offered his sales pitch on the Virginia Tech linebacker as the 49ers potential first-round pick.

Allow Todd McShay to sell you on Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. That’s who the ESPN draft expert has projected to the San Francisco 49ers with the ninth-overall pick in his latest mock draft.

Here’s the tale of the tape on Edmunds. He’s touted as a physical freak who can play all over the field. Edmunds measured in at 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds at last week’s NFL Combine. He went on to run a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, fifth-best of any linebacker in Indianapolis.

On the field, Edmunds posted 108 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as a junior in 2017. What's crazy is that he's still only 19-years-old. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has Edmunds ranked as his fifth-best player in the entire class. McShay is of the same belief.

“I think he’s one of the best six or seven players in this entire draft,” McShay said of Edmunds on Wednesday's conference call. “I just don’t see many like him. It’s difficult to find a comparison for him because how many guys are 6-foot-4½ and 253 pounds and can play off the ball the way he does?”

McShay noted that Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright might be the closest NFL comparison but added that Edmunds is probably a better athlete. NFL.com threw out a lofty comparison to Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher.

“You just don’t see guys this tall playing off the ball,” McShay said. “He’s very difficult to throw around underneath. He moves so well for a big guy. I watched his tape, and he did a good job when he was covering a No. 2 receiver. There’s just so much position versatility there. He can rush the quarterback. I wouldn’t say he’s the most physical thumper at the linebacker position, but he’s a solid tackler. He uses his hands really well, and when you’re a long guy like that, you’ve got to use your hands well to keep blockers off your body.”

So apart from him being an absolute beast, what makes him a fit for the 49ers?

“They’ve got a handful of needs, but you just want to draft an impact player and a guy who can be on the field for all three downs and a guy who can give you different things,” Mcshay said. “In today’s NFL, being a passing game with more spread (offenses), you’ve got to be able to stay with the same personnel at times and be able to line up and feel good about your matchups. Edmunds allows you so much freedom as a defensive coordinator.”

If the 49ers end up landing Edmunds on April 26, they would likely get a look at him all over their front seven. That includes reps at stack linebacker (WILL or MIKE), SAM linebacker and even LEO in a pinch.

We’re still 50 days away from the draft, but you can feel the experts starting to hone in on their projections.

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