And so it begins.
The road to the 2018 NFL Draft has officially begun. That means it's officially mock draft season. Unlike most years, the San Francisco 49ers aren't sure where they'll be drafting yet in the first round. They'll either have the ninth- or 10th-overall selection, depending on whether or not they win a coin flip against the Oakland Raiders at the NFL Scouting Combine.
It varies between draft analysts as to where the 49ers sit in the first wave of mock drafts. With that, here are the predictions. It should be noted that these will all change approximately three million times (give or take) before draft day in Dallas on April 26.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
"The 49ers could turn to wide receiver and find a No. 1 piece on the outside for Jimmy Garoppolo. With his stellar route running and short area explosiveness, Ridley is the draft's best receiver. Some will quibble about his age – he'll turn 24 in December – but his talent shouldn't be overlooked."
Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports: Orlando Brown, OL, Oklahoma
"The Jimmy Garoppolo era has gone better than anybody could have imagined but the team is going to need to protect their big investment and Brown will be a nice way of addressing that as a block of granite on the outside."
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
"The Jimmy Garoppolo era is ready to take off for a full season in San Francisco, and with Nelson, the 49ers get the blocker with the most impressive collegiate film in the 2018 class. He'll help the run game and limit pressure up the middle on Jimmy G."
Eric Galco, Sporting News: Nelson
"The 49ers have found their quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, and they got him for less than a first-round pick. Now it's up to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to accelerate the roster into a playoff contender. That starts with upgrading the offensive line in the draft, then finding offensive weapons in free agency."
Luke Easterling, USA Today: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
"After a five-game winning streak, the 49ers won't mind a lower draft slot. In this scenario, they land the perfect LEO prospect for their defense in Landry, who has the explosiveness and versatility to make an immediate impact."
Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
"For all the promise Kyle Shanahan's offense showed as Jimmy Garoppolo went 5-0 as a starter, San Francisco still needs a big-bodied receiver. At 6-4 and 215 pounds, former basketball player Sutton can win 50-50 balls and boost a red-zone offense that ranked as one of the league's worst (47% touchdown rate)."
Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: Sutton
"At 6'4" and a sculpted 215 pounds, SMU's Courtland Sutton is a different specimen than most collegiate receivers and defensive backs. His size, body control and ability to create after the catch jumps out at anyone who watches the Mustangs. He's been quite productive, too, with 193 receptions for 3,193 yards and 31 touchdowns over the last three seasons.
"The former basketball player's performance during the athletic portion of the NFL Scouting Combine should drive his value into the top 10 where the 49ers can select Garoppolo's go-to target."
Walter Cherepinsky, Walterfootball.com: Nelson
"NFL teams and scouts absolutely love Quenton Nelson. He's viewed as an elite prospect. He's a guard, so he may have trouble being chosen in the top five, though it's not completely impossible. He's viewed as the next Logan Mankins, so I'll be surprised if he's not taken in the initial 10 selections."
Charlie Campbell, Walterfootball.com: Derwin James, S, Florida State
"The 6-foot-3, 211-pounder has a great athletic skill set with tremendous speed, instincts, and strength to hit. He shows the ability to do everything an NFL safety is needed to do. James is fast and long with coverage skills in the deep middle of the field. He also is strong enough to be the eighth man in the box and tackle."
Joseph Zucker, Bleacher Report: Ridley
Steve Silverman, Bleacher Report: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Final Tally (11 total)
Nelson - 3
Ridley - 2
Sutton - 2
Landry - 1
Fitzpatrick - 1
James - 1
Brown - 1
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