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2018 NFL mock draft: Minkah Fitzpatrick is a pick without fault for the 49ers

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San Francisco can go a number of directions with the ninth choice, but the Alabama defensive back is the right one.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our picks in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft today start with the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers have made a few notable moves this offseason, signing running back Jerick McKinnon to a $30 million deal and cornerback Richard Sherman to a $21.5 million deal. The move that impacted San Francisco’s draft the most, though, is trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last season. Had that not happened, the 49ers would be drafting much higher, and they’d most certainly be drafting a quarterback.

But now with Garoppolo and being in the No. 9 slot, the 49ers have options. There is a number of players on defense they could target, and they could even look at a wide receiver.

What direction should they go? David Fucillo of Niners Nation is here, as always, to make the pick for the 49ers.

9: San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Fucillo: The 49ers will benefit in the first round from not needing a quarterback, and we see a quality talent drop to them at No. 9. Bradley Chubb is the dream, but it would be a shock if he lasts until No. 9. Quenton Nelson is bigger than the interior linemen Kyle Shanahan normally uses in his zone blocking scheme, but Nelson brings strong athleticism. But again, it seems unlikely he lasts until No. 9.

The 49ers could use more depth on offense, but they have more room for impact defensive players. I think we see another quarterback go before the 49ers and thus drop one more talent to them. Derwin James and Tremaine Edwards could join Minkah Fitzpatrick and Roquan Smith as options for the 49ers. I like Fitzpatrick because of his versatility. The 49ers could use him as their primary nickel back, or could use him to offer a big nickel and then use current nickel K’Waun Williams for a smaller package. And considering all the injuries the 49ers had at safety last year, another good one wouldn’t hurt.

Analysis: For some reason during the lead up to the draft Fitzpatrick has become a forgotten man. Make no mistake, though, he’s one of the five best players in this year’s draft. Of the above-mentioned names, he’s the best player. There is a great number of things you can do with Fitzpatrick. He does work in all those schemes, and he can do everything pretty well. He can come up and stop the run or create pressure, and he’s talented enough to drop in man coverage. It would be hard to fault this choice if the 49ers do make it.

Dan Kadar’s top five players remaining

  • 4. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  • 7. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  • 9. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
  • 13. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
  • 14. Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Making our next pick in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride making the choice for the Oakland Raiders.

Poll

What grade would you give the pick of Fitzpatrick byt the 49ers?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    A
    (317 votes)
  • 30%
    B
    (177 votes)
  • 9%
    C
    (52 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (16 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (12 votes)
574 votes total Vote Now