San Francisco 49ers: Three players they should hope fall to them

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Roquan Smith
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Roquan Smith /

The San Francisco 49ers, should they decide to stay at number nine, should hope at least one of these three players fall to them.

The San Francisco 49ers are just hours away from being on the clock. Will they select to draft a player with their pick at number nine? Or will they trade it to move up or down in the draft?

There’s an abundance of options for the 49ers to go with, but they should focus their attention on three players: offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, cornerback Denzel Ward and linebacker Roquan Smith.

If, by some string of luck, guard Quenton Nelson is there, the 49ers should draft him in a heart beat. Fingers should be crossed for him to fall to number nine.

Or barring Nelson, cornerback Denzel Ward and linebacker Roquan Smith.

Now that the 49ers have their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, they would be wise to take Nelson if he’s available. Let’s not forget that the 49ers pass protection was atrocious for the majority of last season. They have to solidify the offensive line as soon as possible to protect the major investment they made in Garoppolo.

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If they don’t, they run the risk of duplicating what happened with the Indianapolis Colts and their franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck. The Colts signed their franchise quarterback to a huge deal, but neglected to solidify the offensive line that ensured his protection.

And how did that work out?

Luck hasn’t suited up for a game since 2016 with potentially career threatening injuries. The 49ers need to avoid a similar scenario at all costs, especially with the division rival Los Angeles Rams bolstering their already dangerous defensive line by signing Ndamukong Suh.

For the 49ers, it needs to be a priority to bulk up the interior offensive line with that deadly front four of the Rams, so that Garoppolo’s jersey stays clean.

Nelson more than likely won’t be there at number nine though, so the next player the 49ers should hope to falls to them is cornerback Denzel Ward.

Let’s assume Richard Sherman can be close to the player he used to be. That’s only one sufficient corner on the roster. After him, there isn’t anyone else that has much to offer in the way of reliable pass defense.

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Ward would be an immediate starter for this defense and having Sherman as his teammate and mentor will only benefit him. The knowledge that Sherman could share with Ward will only increase his potential.

The NFL is a passing league, which makes the cornerback position a vital one. It makes drafting a corner at number nine a very valid option. Even more so with the NFC’s high caliber offenses like the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.

The 49ers need to stock up on corners and drafting Ward will create the deadliest cornerback duo the 49ers have had in years. Otherwise, the 49ers are going to need to light up the scoreboard on a consistent basis.

The third and final player the 49ers should hope falls to them is linebacker Roquan Smith.

Even before all the Reuben Foster drama, drafting Smith was viewed by some, as the last step to recreating the 49ers legendary linebacker duo of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

Smith would be a fantastic addition to the 49ers because the NFC west contains two of the best running backs in the league in Todd Gurley of the Rams and David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals.

Plus, Smith is an athletic freak!

He’s insanely fast for a linebacker, which makes him perfect for manning up against a running back and shooting a gap to blitz or stuff the run. Pair him up with Foster and the opposing team’s offensive coordinator will be forced to game plan around them.

However, thanks to Foster’s constant legal issues this offseason, Smith is looking more like a replacement for Foster. The baggage is becoming heavy with him, especially for a player that is injury prone.

In a way, drafting Smith would be admitting that Reuben Foster was a failed project, which is where he is currently trending.

Next: Reuben Foster accsuer admits to lying

Still, drafting Roquan Smith, Quenton Nelson, or Denzel Ward make perfect sense for the 49ers. All three address an immediate need and are the most well rounded players at their position.

You can’t go wrong by drafting any of the three of them.

Now, the 49ers just have to hope that one of them falls to them. If not, general manager John Lynch should strongly consider trading back. This draft is filled with a plethora of quality defensive players that makes trading back a viable option.

With the draft shortly at hand, we’ll soon see how this all plays out.