49ers missed-opportunity No. 4: Safety Nick Cross, Maryland
Niners fans may remember that run on safeties that took place on day two of the NFL Draft.
One pick before the Lions grabbed Kerby Joseph, the Indianapolis Colts made a very Colts-like pick by grabbing Maryland safety Nick Cross, another prospect who was viewed as a potential great grab for San Francisco, had it elected to go that direction.
Heck, Cross wouldn’t have been a bad pick for the 49ers at No. 61 overall, so the fact he slipped deep into Round 3 would have only made for much better value, had the Niners pounced on the speedy playmaking star at No. 93 overall.
If they had, Cross likely would have taken over the free safety spot from veteran Jimmie Ward, allowing the latter to move down either into a nickel cornerback role or into Jaquiski Tartt’s void at strong safety.
Perhaps San Francisco was gambling a bit too much here, hoping Cross would somehow keep slipping despite the run on safeties and wind up being available at No. 105 overall.
Well, Indy thwarted those plans, that’s for sure.