The 2018 NFL draft starts April 26. Here are the picks the 49ers should make.
Round 1, Pick 9. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama.
Analysis: With this pick, the 49ers must get Fitzpatrick, Denzel Ward, Derwin James or Quenton Nelson. Reaching for a middle linebacker to replace Reuben Foster would be a mistake, considering teams can find good linebackers in Round 2. And no, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith would not be a reach at pick No. 9 — he’s excellent. But, he wouldn’t be a middle linebacker for the 49ers, either. He would be a weakside linebacker. He would not replace Foster.
Round 2, Pick 59: Leighton Vander Esch, MLB, Boise St.
Analysis: Here’s the replacement for Foster. Some draft gurus consider Vander Esch a first-round talent, but he will drop to the end of round 2 because he has had concussion and neck issues. Those injuries forces him to miss seven games in 2016. In 2017, he played 14 games and recorded 141 tackles.
Round 3, Pick 70: Tyrell Crosby, G/T, Oregon.
Analysis: Crosby is an athletic offensive lineman who fits the 49ers outside-zone-blocking scheme, and can play guard or tackle.
Round 3, Pick 74: Dorance Armstrong Jr., DE, Kansas.
Analysis: Armstrong recorded 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 12 games as a Sophomore in 2016. He was the best player on a bad team — similar to cornerback Aqib Talib when he went to Kansas.
Round 4, Pick 128: J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri.
Analysis: Moore is similar to Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson.
Round 5, Pick 143: Jeff Holland, DE, Auburn.
Analysis: Last season, Holland ranked third in the SEC in sacks with 9.5.
Round 6, Pick 184: Troy Apke, DB, Penn State.
Analysis: Apke is an athletic safety the 49ers could try at cornerback, as they did with Tyvis Powell and Adrian Colbert.
Round 7, Pick 223: Nic Shimonek, QB, Texas Tech.
Analysis: Shimonek spent his red-shirt freshman season at Iowa with C.J. Beathard.
Round 7, Pick 240: Cameron Batson, WR, Texas Tech.
Analysis: Batson is similar Marquise Goodwin, but not quite as fast. Batson ran a 4.35 at his Pro Day. Goodwin ran a 4.27 at the Combine in 2013.