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2017 NFL mock draft: San Francisco 49ers take Malik Hooker

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The No. 2 pick in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is a smart choice

NCAA Football: Indiana at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Few teams have been as busy this offseason as the San Francisco 49ers, who have signed 12 free agents and traded for center Jeremy Zuttah. Coming off a miserable 2-14 season and starting with a new regime in coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, this much should be expected.

But if you look at all the players the 49ers have brought in, none are superstars. Holding the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, that’s what the team needs to find. The venerable David Fucillo of Niners Nation checks in with who he thinks the 49ers should pick.

2. 49ers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Fucillo: Much like the Cleveland Browns, the 49ers need a quarterback, but will pass on one at the top of the first round. Kyle Shanahan could fall in love with one of the QBs, but it seems unlikely for the time being. Wide receiver was an option, with Mike Williams and Corey Davis being two intriguing choices. Some have suggested running back if Leonard Fournette is the best option out there.

However, it comes back to how strong the top of this draft is on the defensive side of the ball. The 49ers defense was atrocious in 2016, and they are making a major change in 2017, switching to a Seattle-style defense. A key cog in that defense is the Earl Thomas safety role. There is talk of moving Jimmie Ward to safety, and while that is possible, Malik Hooker seems like a perfect fit. Ward was a solid cornerback in 2016, and leaving him there while bringing in Hooker on the back-end could be the win-win situation this defense needs to take a big step forward.

Some other defensive options considered include DE Solomon Thomas, DT Jonathan Allen, ILB Reuben Foster, CB Marshon Lattimore, and S Jamal Adams. However, Hooker seems like the best combination of talent and need.

Analysis: The last paragraph in the above description is the most interesting part. You can make just as good of an argument for any of those players as you can for Hooker. Because of that, it might be smart for the 49ers to see if they can trade down, get an extra pick, and still get a top player. If they stick at No. 2, Hooker is the smartest choice. He may rate below Allen and Adams for me, but from a scheme standpoint, he’s the right choice.

Dan's top five players remaining

  • 2. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
  • 3. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
  • 5. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
  • 6. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
  • 7. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

San Francisco picks

  • 1-2: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
  • 2-34: (coming April 11)

Our final pick in the first day of the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is coming up at 3 p.m. when Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. of Windy City Gridiron makes the pick for the Chicago Bears.

Poll

What grade do you give the pick of Malik Hooker for the 49ers?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    A
    (499 votes)
  • 35%
    B
    (483 votes)
  • 16%
    C
    (225 votes)
  • 5%
    D
    (71 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (89 votes)
1367 votes total Vote Now