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Brand new member of the 2018 NFL draft coverage team

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Quick little introduction of the new contributor as well as some draft crushes the 49ers may target

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going everyone? Just wanted to give you all a little background on myself then dive right into some draft season coverage. Despite not being from the Bay Area I have been a 49ers fan since I can remember, and could not be more excited about the promise this off-season holds for us fans. Soaking up information about college prospects as well as potential free agent targets has been a hobby of mine for years and one I strongly enjoy. I’m looking forward to passing on some knowledge and perspective as a contributor over the next few months.

It’s a good time to be a 49ers fan as we ended the season as arguably one of the hottest teams in the league. Jimmy Garoppolo coming over from New England was Christmas in October and has set off a chain of events that makes predicting this off-season about as hard as it can get. Stacked with an estimated 100+ million in cap space coupled with draft capital our already promising roster can take things to the next level over these next few months. Here are a few players I think could have a big impact on our 2018 roster.

Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

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The secret is out on this young man who will certainly be a guy to watch at the upcoming combine. Jackson burst onto the scene in his first year starting, to the tune of 8 interceptions which led the FBS. Showing up in big games was where he really made his mark. At 6’1”, 192 lbs Jackson possesses the size and ball instincts teams are looking for. With our cornerback positions being a question mark going into next season, the front office may find Jackson to be another cheap cornerstone to add to our young defense. As is often the case, the combine will have a huge say in where Jackson ultimately lands in the first round. The tape is on his side but will he be able to pass the Lynch eye test come February.

Arden Key, Edge, LSU

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One thing I think we can all agree on is that the 49ers need help with their pass rush. The question is with whom or how are we going to achieve that. Judging by the thin options in the forthcoming free agent market, it’s unlikely we will land that sack artist we have been hoping for since we moved on from Aldon Smith. Arden Key is a prospect who may just fill that void. I list him as my top edge prospect because as it stands right now I don’t have much faith Bradley Chubb would be available on draft night to us if we are still picking in the 9-10 range. Key checks a lot of the boxes a promising rusher should have but does come with some baggage which makes his selection anything but a safe pick. At 6’6”, 265 lbs Key has amazing athleticism and bend to go with his large frame. A variety of opinions are circling regarding his level of commitment but if what former All-Pro Defensive End Chuck Smith, who trains Key, says about him holds true, Arden could find his way into the top 10 conversation. He will no doubt be facing some hard questions at the combine and have to put on a show in the drills but talent often wins out when evaluating players. Plus let us not ignore his excellent choice in jersey number.

Billy Price, C/OG, Ohio State

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Improving the line which protects our new franchise quarterback has to be a top priority. With several promising guards within reach on the free agent market I’m looking at Billy Price as the solution to our center problem for years to come. Having the flexibility of being able to play guard or center only helps his draft status but steady play and high praise is what sold me. Landing him in the second round may not be an easy task but he is a potential day one contributor and critical to keeping Jimmy Garoppolo healthy.

Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State

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After we protect Jimmy Garoppolo the next thing to do is give him more toys to attack opposing defenses with. Between Garcon, Goodwin, Taylor, and Kittle the offense returns a pretty solid group in 2018 but we still lack the true red-zone threat a high powered offense needs. In steps Scott, all 6’6” of him. Scott showcased his ability to win jump-ball contests more than a few times this season and could make life easier on Robbie Gould by finishing off drives with touchdowns versus field goals. His speed may not test out as elite at the combine but you can’t argue the advantage his height and body control could provide an already quickly evolving offense. If we don’t land a receiver such as Allen Robinson in free agency I would love for Scott to be a target in the late 2nd - early 3rd range.