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2017 NFL mock draft: Considering safety midway through the NFL Combine

The 49ers might give Jimmie Ward a look at safety. Is that enough reason to preclude safety with the No. 2 pick?

The 2017 NFL Combine is approaching its midway point, with the final group of players arriving, and the first group hitting the field for workouts and positional drills. We will see some adjustments to 2017 NFL mock drafts once the Combine comes to a close, but we are already seeing one adjustment.

Bucky Brooks has focused on North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky as a 49ers pick, but in his latest mock draft, Brooks switches sides. The NFL Network analyst has the 49ers selecting Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. In detailing the pick, Brooks says, “John Lynch resists the temptation to reach on a QB to select a dynamic centerfielder with outstanding instincts and ball skills.”

The 49ers need to figure out who will play the Earl Thomas role in their new-look defense. Lynch said on Thursday that defensive back Jimmie Ward is a good scheme fit for that role. He acknowledged that based on film review, his traits and skills would seem to translate. Lynch also said they also need to get him on the field working in that role to see if he does indeed fit.

The 49ers start their offseason workout program the first week of April. The first couple weeks on the field are strictly strength and conditioning work. They can get into on-field drills and game plan implementation after that, but they won’t have done a lot before the Draft arrives. If they see enough do they go some way other than safety? Or if Hooker proves to be the best option on the board, do they just grab him and figure it out later?