2018 NFL Draft: Why the San Francisco 49ers Should Draft Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds

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Tremaine Edmunds
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The San Francisco 49ers hold the ninth-overall pick in this month’s NFL Draft. With the draft looking to be top-heavy with quarterback selections, the 49ers could come away with a top-five positional talent at number nine. Who should the 49ers draft in round one? If he’s on the board,¬†Tremaine Edmunds should be the obvious selection.

Why Tremaine Edmunds Should be San Francisco 49ers First Round Target

Virginia Tech linebacker¬†Tremaine Edmunds may only be 19 years old but the former Hokie is already a fantastic football player. Taking a look at Edmunds’ NFL.com player profile, it is easy to see how gifted an athlete he is.

More than a great athlete, Edmunds is an accomplished college linebacker. Per our own Chris O’Day’s draft profile, “Tremaine Edmunds 2018 NFL Draft Profile”, Edmunds played three strong season for the Hokies. He was named first-team All-ACC in 2017. He also became a third-team All-American. After adding 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, Edmunds showed his ability to make splash-plays. He was always around the football.

How does Edmunds fit with the 49ers?

The 49ers line-backing core took a huge hit when starting middle linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested twice this off-season. The Niners may need a contingency plan, in case Foster misses the full six games for violating the NFL’s policy against domestic violence.

The fit is much more natural than speculation, though. Edmunds 6’5″, 250 pound frame is an asset the Niners can build around. He’s tough against the run and big enough to take on 300-plus pound offensive guards in the trenches.

On the edge, Edmunds can do a lot of damage as well. His length and athleticism make him a solid pass-rusher. The 49ers ranked 27th in the NFL in sacking the quarterback in 2017. Edmunds’ speed and agility would help him against gifted offensive tackles, like the Los Angeles Rams’ Andrew Whitworth.

It is important to note that versatility plays a huge role in Edmunds’ draft status. The young linebacker can play multiple positions. He can play middle linebacker in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He can play EDGE in a 4-3. For the 49ers, he’d be a good strong-side backer as well. The team just signed¬†Korey Toomer to fill this role but Edmunds would be more ideal. His height and length would make him a good ‘stack’ linebacker in the 49ers hybrid 4-3 under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Because he would set a strong edge, 3-4 outside linebacker could be his best position fit. Since the 49ers use a hybrid 4-3 that has 3-4 looks, Edmunds makes sense in almost every role imaginable.

The Last Word

There are only a few scenarios in which Edmunds doesn’t make sense for the 49ers. What if the Niners decide to trade up in the draft? Could Quenton Nelson, the freak prospect from Notre Dame, fall past the Chicago Bears at pick number eight? Finally, could Monday and Tuesday’s visit with Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick yield draft day results? Without one of these examples happening, Edmunds should be the 49ers selection at the ninth-overall pick. Pedigree, versatility and production are all apparent.

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