The Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. serves as an excellent kickoff to our mock draft series leading up to April’s NFL draft. The 49ers currently own five picks in the first four rounds and general manager John Lynch can continue to build his resume by duplicating last year’s success from his first rookie class.

The 49ers’ first pick will come ninth or 10th, determined by a coin flip with the Raiders at the scouting combine next month. We’ll publish multiple mocks throughout draft season, working to identify needs as they change throughout the offseason to approach the draft from multiple angles. While mock drafts ignore the human element to 32 general managers making decisions under pressure, it’s important to examine the various ways the 49ers can approach their options.

For our first mock, the 49ers go offense-heavy after grabbing one of the most promising defensive prospects in the entire draft.

Round 1 (pick 9) | Tremaine Edmunds | LB | Virginia Tech

Edmunds is just 19-years-old and is arguably the best linebacker in the class. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, there simply isn’t a body-type comparison to be made. And that’s before seeing what Edmunds can do on the field. He’s instinctual and aggressive, with the athleticism to beat blockers to the edge, or the strength to meet them in gaps at the line of scrimmage. The 49ers took Reuben Foster in the first round of last year’s draft, and linebacker may feel like a luxury, but Edmunds is as rare a talent who could help at multiple positions along the front seven.

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

He’s a combination of New England Patriots Dont’a Hightower and Cleveland Brown Jamie Collins. His length in coverage makes him difficult to separate from as an intermediate zone defender, and he pairs that natural physicality with a three-down skill set that can line up all over the field. Play him as a pass-rusher, a backside gap-shooting linebacker or a traditional MIKE. He can play on the ball in a 3-4 defense or stacked in a 4-3. Here, the 49ers land the most-versatile defender in the class to their young core of defenders.

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