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Denzel Ward emerging as mock draft option as Senior Bowl week begins

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The 49ers have a cornerback need, and people are jumping on the Denzel Ward bandwagon.

The 2018 Senior Bowl gets underway this week, and that means we will hear a lot of assessments about a host of players. One player who will not be included in these assessments is Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. The true junior is not eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, and so he is likely spending this week continuing preparations for the 2018 NFL Combine.

I bring him up because we are seeing more and more people suggest him as an option for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2018 NFL Draft. Matt Miller included him in his mock draft a little over week ago, and Mel Kiper mocked him to the 49ers late last week. We can now add SB Nation’s Dan Kadar to the mix. In his latest 2018 NFL mock draft, he had the 49ers adding Ward, describing him as, “the type of instant starter needed on an otherwise average defensive backfield.”

Plenty can and will change between now and late April, but I have a hunch we’ll see a lot of Ward mentioned in connection with the 49ers. The 49ers have a big need at cornerback, and with Minkah Fitzpatrick likely coming off the board earlier, Ward makes sense.

Dan has four quarterbacks going in the first six picks, and five overall in the first round. He has Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen going first and second, and then Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield going fifth and sixth. The non-quarterback talent going before the 49ers pick include running back Saquon Barkley, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, defensive end Bradley Chubb, offensive guard Quenton Nelson, and linebacker Roquan Smith (to Oakland Raiders if they win the coin toss).

Ward would make a lot of sense at No. 10 in this mock draft. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and wide receiver Calvin Ridley have both been mentioned in connection with the 49ers, as has safety Derwin James. It’s going to be a busy few months of 49ers mock drafts!