The San Francisco 49ers are an up-and-coming franchise in the NFL after a 2017 that changed the team’s fate.
Hiring Kyle Shanahan in the spring of 2017 to pair with new general manager John Lynch changed the perception of the San Francisco 49ers. They went from a team that flamed out after an impressive Super Bowl run to a new look franchise. Those two impressed in the first draft a year ago, grabbing two players who can be defensive center-pieces and collecting assets for the future. Then Lynch took to the phones and landed Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade from the New England Patriots, another franchise altering move.
Garoppolo won the remainder of his games after the midseason acquisition and now the team is looking like a threat entering 2018. Another strong draft, paired with their successful free agency period will push them into the post season.
This mock draft was done using Fanspeak’s On the Clock, a fun and informative tool for all NFL draft fans.
Round 1 – Pick 9
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
One of the aforementioned picks in Lynch’s first draft was linebacker Reuben Foster. After an injury plagued rookie season the future still looked bright for Foster. However, an off the field incident is making his future blurry. Those concerns were what pushed him down draft boards in the first place. Now his uncertain status leaves the the 49ers with a hole at linebacker.
Luckily for San Francisco, one of the best players in this entire draft class is a future star at linebacker Roquan Smith. A star for the Georgia Bulldogs and a defensive anchor, Smith is the ideal type of player for the way the NFL is heading. He is an outstanding tackler with the ability to work sideline-to-sideline.
Smith would fit naturally in San Francisco’s defense as either a middle linebacker, taking over for Foster, or as an outside player complimenting last year’s first round pick. The two would give the 49ers the ability to play five defensive backs with their ability to cover and stay on the field. Smith is the best linebacker in the draft despite being smaller than average.