The NFL Combine is over and free agency is about to begin. Some would say it’s already started, and that’s a fair point, because the NFL’s adherence to deadlines and dates barely holds water these days. So what better time to ... look at another 2018 NFL mock draft!?
After a strong performance at the combine, many are pretty excited about Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. He was always considered a potential top 10 pick by many, but his combine performance really did reinforce what many thought of him. That’s who the San Francisco 49ers are picking in Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft at SB Nation.
I’m personally still a fan of Minkah Fitzpatrick and think he sold himself short by suggesting his best NFL position is slot cornerback, but if the position is not adequately addressed in free agency or via a trade, I think ninth overall is definitely the place to address the cornerback position, short of a can’t-miss edge rusher being available.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
There were some questions about Ward coming into the combine — Is he too small? Is his athleticism legit? — and he answered each. He came in just under 5’11 and ran a 4.32 40-yard dash. Ward not only cemented his status as the draft’s best cornerback but he may have locked up a spot in the top 10.
The other notable bits about this mock: guard Quenton Nelson is going to his very popular destination of Tampa Bay at No. 7, while running back Saquon Barkley and defensive end Bradley Chubb go at second and third overall to the Giants and Colts, respectively. Fitzpatrick is also gone, to the Browns at No. 4, after they took Sam Darnold of USC first overall.
So at this point, a lot of things about this mock draft hasn’t changed a whole lot due to the NFL Combine and I think that’s actually the mark of a good mock, really. The NFL Combine shouldn’t drastically affect change in the top 10 of the NFL Draft, and in this mock, it isn’t. Ward isn’t the most-mocked player to the 49ers, but he’s been picked for them quite a few times.