The draft analysis crew at NFL.com is slowly getting ready for the upcoming Combine, and that includes the arrival of a host of 2018 NFL mock drafts. The latest comes courtesy of former NFL general manager Charley Casserly.
Casserly is the fifth NFL.com analyst to post a mock draft, and he is the first to take someone different for the San Francisco 49ers. The other four went with Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Casserly went with Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, saying, “With Bradley Chubb off the board, the 49ers fill their next biggest need on defense.”
It’s not a surprising pick, but Casserly’s mock draft did have one big surprise. He had the Denver Broncos selecting UT-San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport at No. 5. I am going to assume he sees the Broncos landing Kirk Cousins.
But what might be a little crazier is that he has N.C. State pass rusher Bradley Chubb dropping to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7. Chubb has been regularly connected to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 3, but he has the Colts selecting Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. The Colts will likely lose Frank Gore to free agency this year, but odds seem pretty decent Marlon Mack gets first crack at the starting job. And with enough other areas of need, I could see them going Chubb with that third overall pick.
With Davenport going No. 5, this mock draft presents the 49ers with the choice of Ward, Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Quenton Nelson, and plenty others. There will likely be at least one surprise in the first eight or nine picks before the 49ers are on the board, and that could spring a slew of options when John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have to make their decision.