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Another linebacker to the 49ers from a mock draft, with a twist

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Would a somewhat different linebacker be acceptable for the 49ers, under these circumstances?

Over at SB Nation, some of my NFL colleagues and I put together a 2018 NFL mock draft, which as you know is all the rage these days. We decided to have some fun with it, though, and decided to place a restriction on it: we couldn’t mock a player to a team if we’ve already mocked that player to that team in a previous mock from 2018.

This meant that the San Francisco 49ers were ineligible to pick guard Quenton Nelson, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Josh Jackson, linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith, defensive end Marcus Davenport and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.

And at that point in the mock, all of edge rusher Bradley Chubb, defensive tackle Vita Vea and running back Saquon Barkley were off the board. So in addition to the players taken by the 49ers in the past and those already taken in the mock, who’d they land?

We went with Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans.

Evans, like many players at Alabama, played behind future NFL players for a few years in Tuscaloosa. But for many of the players who go through Alabama’s program, it was worth it. He earned second-team All-SEC honors for his team-high 74 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks, and three pass breakups. The 49ers need pieces at the cornerback and linebacker positions, and you can almost never go wrong with a Nick Saban-coached talent.

Obviously, Derwin James is a player that a lot of people like, and he was available to the 49ers, but we went with Evans given the need and — especially — uncertainty at linebacker.

Looking at the picks we made after the 49ers, the only other names I’d really consider under these terms would be Harold Landry and Leighton Vander Esch. But Evans is the better player, as far as I’m concerned, so I’m happy with the selection.