The draft is all about value paired with need. The San Francisco 49ers have few needs and an abundance of draft picks. This puts them in a favorable position. At no point in the draft should they be forced to pick one position or another. In this first round mock draft, that principle held true.
Picking at number 30 (which I don’t think the 49ers will stay at come draft day), I feel their biggest need is at wide receiver. With some of the top names off the board already and the wide receiver position being the deepest position in the draft, I didn’t want to reach on a player just to get a receiver. There wasn’t much value to be had. The same thing went for the cornerbacks. There are a lot of good cornerbacks that can be had in the second and third rounds.
The safety position, however, is a bit different. That group is more top heavy, especially when you talk about strong safeties. The safety position is also becoming more and more important in today’s NFL. So with pick number 30 and Jimmie Ward still on the board, I had to take him. I feel as though he will end up being the best safety in this draft if he isn’t already.
With Donte Whitner leaving in free agency, the 49ers need someone to fill his shoes. Although they signed Antoine Bethea, he seems like he’s more of an insurance policy for this season. The 49ers need a young strong safety to be paired up with Eric Reid. If they can land that player, they will have one of the best safety tandems in the league. Jimmie Ward can be that guy they’re looking for. He’s the most complete safety in the draft. He’s extremely versatile, isn’t afraid to come into the box and make a tackle, and is very good in coverage.
If the 49ers decided to stay put at number 30 on draft day and came away with Jimmie Ward they would be extremely happy. As would their fan base. The pairing of Ward and Reid would be extraordinarily challenging for opposing quarterbacks since they’re both so smart and move very well. When all is said and done, the 49ers might end up having to trade up if Ward is the safety they’re after.