These are always fun. Christan D’Andrea of SB Nation wrote up an article where the re-drafted the first round of the 2018 draft. It’s just a good exercise to see where exactly teams hit a home run and who blew it. Obviously, where a player lands has a lot to do with how they will perform. Not every player is good enough to transcend their situation. Some players are dependent on that. Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns is not one of those players. He remained the number one selection in this hypothetical redraft. Here are the picks leading up to the San Francisco 49ers:
New York Giants: Saquon Barkley
New York Jets: Sam Darnold
Cleveland Browns: Derwin James instead of Denzel Ward
Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson instead of Bradley Chubb
Indianpolis Colts: Bradley Chubb
Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson instead of Josh Allen
Chicago Bears: Darius Leonard instead of Roquan Smith
49ers-CB Denzel Ward
The Niners needed an impact inside linebacker so badly this offseason that they gave Kwon Alexander a $54 million contract. Getting Roquan Smith would have given San Francisco a similar impact player with a higher ceiling at a fraction of the cost, but Ward — a Pro Bowler in his first season in the league — presents too much value to pass up. He’ll pair with Richard Sherman to give the 49ers one of the league’s most intimidating cornerback tandems — a duo that can take some pressure off a shaky safety rotation.
It’s pretty obvious that Mike McGlinchey will be a very good football player. I don’t think anyone would argue that cornerback is more valuable than right tackle. Some argue that cornerback is the second most important position after quarterback. We know that the Niners struggled to create turnovers last year—at a historic rate—so getting Ward, who had 3 interceptions and 11 pass breakups, would be a huge get for the 49ers defense.
Ward had a 63% success rate as a rookie. That was the third highest mark in the NFL. Just an incredible season for him. How would you feel about this? Check out the article and see if there is another name you would prefer.