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Mike Mayock’s final mock draft has 49ers selecting Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

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The position is a bit surprising, but it’s arguably the best cornerback in the draft.

The San Francisco 49ers’ ninth pick is going to be anyone’s guess until Roger Goodell goes to the podium to announce the selection. We’ve seen linebackers, we’ve seen offensive linemen.

And now, NFL’s Mike Mayock settles on the 49ers going cornerback. He had the 49ers picking Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward in his final mock draft before the 2018 NFL Draft begins. It is worth noting that Mayock has had some decent success with mock drafts over the years. He has consistently nailed the No. 1 pick, and is generally rated among the more accurate. Most mocks get less accurate the further down you go, but it is still notable.

Mayock’s pick seems consistent with some of the draft speculation, especially with SI’s Peter King saying the 49ers were interested in Ward. There isn’t much of a discussion of the pick, but the logic is sound:

Most people’s No. 1 corner, 188 pounds, ran a 4.32, oily hips. From his perspective, they get the No. 1 corner in this draft.

There has been speculation that the 49ers may consider Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, but it may be a bit of a reach at No. 9. Especially when Trent Brown’s future is still undecided on extensions and McGlinchey is thought to be a stronger player on the right side (I.E. not an ideal heir to left tackle Joe Staley).

Ward would be going to a cornerback group that has Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’waun Williams, and Jimmie Ward. Sherman’s ankle injury is a question mark and Jimmie Ward is entering the final year of his contract. The 49ers are in a position where a guard is a reach (if Quenton Nelson is gone—and in this case he goes fifth to the Denver Broncos), tackle is a reach, and any player that is best player available might be something they don’t potentially need.

Or the 49ers simply don’t want to be considering cornerbacks for a few years.