So we’re not drowned in Mock Drafts, I’ll attempt to limit them to Sunday’s and Wednesdays. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his second Mock Draft of the season. I’m sensing a theme here as he pegged a safety for the San Francisco 49ers.
“As I mentioned last month, the 49ers have to get this pick right because they don’t have another selection until the fifth round. No pressure, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Delpit struggled through an ankle injury last season and needs work as a tackler, but I’m betting on his upside as an athletic, versatile safety. The Niners could lose Jimmie Ward in free agency, and Delpit would help fill that void. Wide receiver is also an interesting position to keep an eye on for San Francisco, which could let free-agent Emmanuel Sanders walk and replace him with a playmaker from a super-deep class.”
Mel is correct. If the 49ers stay at No. 31, he has to be a guy that can contribute right away. We’ll have a better idea of the team-specific needs, but until then, get used to seeing safeties. As for Delpit, he has a tackling issue. There are some lowlights over the last two seasons of him missing a ton of tackles, and that cannot be undersold. That said, hee’s still a playmaker, and his aggression and ability to play different roles make Delpit and intriguing option. I’d guess he tears it up at the NFL Combine next week and won’t be available at the end of the first round for the 49ers.
Ideally, none of this matters as the 49ers bring back Jimmie Ward. I’ll be interested in the type of contract other teams offer Ward. I want to see how other teams view him as a player. If someone is willing to “break the bank” for Ward, then we could be looking at a new free safety in the starting lineup next season.