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49ers go safety in the second round of Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft

Jimmie Ward gets a running mate

NFL: MAR 05 Scouting Combine Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On paper, safety is the biggest hole on the 49ers roster. Tarvaris Moore is coming off an injury that prevented him from playing in 2021. George Odum has started ten of the 39 games he’s appeared in since 2018, and Talanoa Hufanga is a Day 3 pick entering his second season.

ESPN’s Todd McShay selected a safety for San Francisco in his most recent mock draft:

61. San Francisco 49ers

Nick Cross, S, Maryland

Welcome to the draft, San Francisco! With Jimmie Ward entering the final year of his deal, the Niners might look to the secondary here. At 6-foot and 212 pounds, Cross has great size, center fielder speed and plenty of versatility.

Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker went off the board at No. 52, while Georgia’s Lewis Cine went to the Falcons at No. 43, and Baylor safety Jalen Pitre went early in the second to the Houston Texans at pick No. 37.

Cross had a fantastic combine as he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at 212 pounds. He also had a 10-foot-8 broad jump with a 37” vertical jump, proving to be one of the more explosive defensive backs in the draft.

The difference between Cross and a guy like Cine is that Cross is more of a linear mover, which impacts where and how you can use him. Also, his instincts will need to improve when it comes to recognizing what the offense is trying to do.

If the object is to get Cross going forward and downhill, then he’s your guy. At 61, with a safety like Illinois’s Kerby Joseph available, I’d go in that direction instead.