The San Francisco 49ers will be plenty active in the 2018 NFL Draft, and it’s safe to say they will be looking for players on both sides of the ball. The defense is improving, but they still need help among the pass rushers and at cornerback. The offense showed signs of life this week, but they lack a true franchise quarterback, need help along the offensive line, and could use more feature options at wide receiver.
Recently, Albert Breer decided to put together a list of players, talk with some NFL scouts, and turn it into an early season big board for the 2018 NFL Draft. Here are the top five players on his board, and you can view the rest here.
1. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. Derwin James, S, Florida State
3. Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
4. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
5. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The 49ers are likely going to remain in contention for one of the top picks, and they have plenty of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. I don’t know that they would go safety that high, but we also don’t know the future of Eric Reid or Jimmie Ward. As for running back? Even with Carlos Hyde hitting free agency after this season, I just don’t see Kyle Shanahan looking to invest a high pick in the position.
It is always worth noting that a big board is not the same as a mock draft. Big boards are more purely based on talent, while a mock draft looks to team needs. More than likely a quarterback will go No. 1 overall, but we could easily see two more quarterbacks go in the top five or ten, and a couple more in the rest of the first round. It will be interesting to see what the 49ers decide to do if they end up in the top five or ten of the draft.