ESPN Draft guru Todd McShay joined Murph & Mac last week from radio row, and broke down who he thinks should be on the 49ers’ big board in the first round of the NFL Draft come April. The 49ers will have either the 9th or 10th pick depending on a coin flip with the Raiders, who also finished the season with a 6-10 record. McShay said he believes the 49ers should target a corner, but that if a certain offensive guard is available, Lynch and Co. should consider pivoting.
“Minkah Fitzpatrick would be a steal I think if he’s still available,” McShay said. “I think Denzel Ward is the best pure cover corner in this draft and has a chance to be elite. I mean he’s an exceptional athlete with speed and explosiveness. Those two guys make a lot of sense and Quenton Nelson is a guard, but he’s worth it man. I think he’s the best offensive lineman in this draft.”
Fitzpatrick is a consensus two-time All-American out of the University of Alabama, and won the Jim Thorpe award last season, given to the best defensive back in college football. Fitzpatrick is a safety/corner hybrid and is projected to go as high as fourth overall.
Ward out of Ohio State is more likely to be available, and is a more traditional corner. McShay says he’s closing the gap on Fitzpatrick as the top corner in the draft, and it doesn’t hurt that former teammate Marshon Lattimore just won defensive rookie of the year with the Saints.
Nelson would be more of a stretch here, especially considering corner is a more pressing need for the 49ers, but is still projected as an immediate NFL starter. Nelson was named as a consensus All-American for Notre Dame in 2017.
Listen to the full interview below. To hear McShay’s take on the 49ers, skip to 9:00