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Todd McShay goes defense for 49ers in mock draft

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has his first mock draft for the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s what he has for the 49ers.

Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

The NFL season is coming down the final stretch, with three weeks remaining. That’s three more weeks to figure out what Jimmy Garoppolo can bring to the table, and if he is worth a nine-figure contract extension this offseason.

The San Francisco 49ers likely will not be looking quarterback on day one when the 2018 NFL Draft arrives. That means mock drafts are going to vary a bit more over the next four months. With that in mind, Todd McShay has posted his first 2018 NFL mock draft.

McShay based his draft order on ESPN’s “Football Power Index,” and that has the 49ers picking fourth, behind the Indianapolis Colts, and ahead of the Denver Broncos. McShay went defense with the 49ers pick, selecting Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Here’s what McShay had to say:

Saquon Barkley could make sense here, but the 49ers have Matt Breida and could re-sign pending free agent Carlos Hyde. Just like his dad did throughout his career, Shanahan has always believed in his ability to identify RB talent that fits his system in later rounds; I'm guessing he and John Lynch will employ a similar strategy. The 49ers have invested heavily on the defensive line in recent drafts, but they need an infusion of talent in the secondary. Fitzpatrick is a true shutdown cornerback who has the versatility to play safety as well.

Fitzpatrick is an intriguing pick because of his versatility. He can play cornerback or safety, and while the 49ers appear to have considerable depth at safety, that kind of addition would allow Robert Saleh and the defensive coaching staff to get extra creative in their secondary. The 49ers need depth at cornerback, so even with a potential free agent addition at the position, Fitzpatrick makes a lot of sense.