San Francisco 49ers: Best Potential 2018 NFL Draft First Round Targets [Opinion]

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Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers are viewed as one of the best up-and-coming young teams in the NFL. After finishing the 2017 season with five straight wins, the future looks bright.

It has been a long time since the 49ers were viewed as playoff contenders. Garoppolo has finally given the 49ers’ fan base hope that their team has a franchise-caliber quarterback, as Sports Illustrated noted. There are still some issues that the 49ers will need to fix in order to make the playoffs, but they will have an opportunity to do so in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Looking ahead at the draft, the 49ers will be on the clock with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round. At this point in time, it is unclear what position San Francisco will target in the first round, but there are plenty of different players that would help fix the holes that they have.

San Franciso will have their work cut out for them in the coming years and John Lynch simply cannot afford to miss on my picks. Going up against teams like the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Minnesota Vikings is not going to be an easy task. Their journey back to contention will start during the 2018 draft.

All of that being said, which five prospects would be the best fits for the 49ers at No. 9 in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Tremaine Edwards, Linebacker, Virginia Tech

One of the biggest needs for the 49ers this offseason is to find a linebacker that can lead the middle of the defense. Tremaine Edwards is projected to go in the top-15 and could be a perfect fit for the 49ers. If he is still available at No. 9, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the 49ers snag him.

Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State

Another position of need is cornerback, which is where Ohio State’s Denzel Ward could come into play. Ward is considered by most to be the best cornerback available in the draft and could be in play as early as No. 5. San Francisco needs to shore up their defense and Ward could undoubtedly help accomplish that.

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Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State

Obviously, being able to draft Saquon Barkley would be a huge win for the 49ers. They are looking to surround Garoppolo with more talent and Barkley would help them do just that. Barkley is likely going to be gone before No. 9, but if he is there, the 49ers will likely take him.

Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Even though Calvin Ridley’s name has been falling down later in the first round in most mock drafts, he is still one of the top talents in the NFL. If the 49ers decide to bring in a potential No. 1 target for Garoppolo, Ridley will be their guy. At 6-foot-1 with the physical ability that he possesses, Ridley has the potential to become the next big thing at the wide receiver position.

Mike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

Finally, the 49ers could choose to upgrade their offensive line. Mike McGlinchey is a name that could go top-15, with Quenton Nelson who is also from Notre Dame being considered the top offensive lineman in the draft. McGlinchey has the potential to become a cornerstone for an NFL offensive line, and San Francisco would be wise to consider taking him to keep Garoppolo upright.