After previously predicting the 49ers will select Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, ESPN draft insider Todd McShay now believes San Francisco is most likely to select Virginia Tech outside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds with the ninth overall pick, in his Mock Draft 3.0 released Wednesday. McShay thinks that Ward will now be selected at No. 8 by the Chicago Bears after the player he had them taking previously, WR Calvin Ridley, had a “mixed combine workout.”
The 49ers need another cornerback, but in this scenario Ward is gone at No. 8. The 49ers have invested heavily on the defensive line high in previous drafts, but I think they look to the second level of the defense here. And Edmunds is a gift at No. 9. At 6-foot-4, 254 pounds, he has elite speed (4.47 40) and athleticism — and he’s only 19. Edmunds has the ability to play off the ball on first and second downs and rush the QB on obvious passing downs.
Edmunds is seen as a linebacker/defensive end hybrid, that has the athleticism to be an impact player on both running and passing downs. As a junior at Virginia Tech last season, Edmunds recorded a team-high 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was a first team All-ACC selection, and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the best linebacker in college football annually.
Edmunds would also serve as a bit of an insurance policy for last year’s first round pick LB Reuben Foster, whose future is currently in doubt after he was arrested twice this offseason, with the second incident involving domestic violence charges.
Edmunds is the son of Ferrell Edmunds, a two-time Pro Bowler at tight end with Miami (1989-90).
If the 49ers take Edmunds, it would be the sixth consecutive year they’ve selected a defensive player with their first pick.