After some hemming and hawing, I finally decided to take a stab at putting together an all-decade team for the '00s. Although the 49ers have had some down seasons recently, the decade was book-ended by some incredibly talented players. I won't go into a lot of detail for the players, and for some I may have nothing to say. I'm using Pro Football Reference's amazing statistical sorter, which should provide some intriguing results. In addition, there is an intriguing site that provides team historical rosters.
For some positions, most notably the offensive line, it was a mix of objective and subjective analysis. I used PFR's search tool to find who started the most games at the position, and then basically tried to figure out in my head what I could remember of their play. So take it for what it's worth. Additionally, since the team used the 4-3 for a larger chunk of the decade, I went with that as the defense of choice. I was tempted to go with a 4-4 to accomodate both, like we did with our all-time team, but I changed my mind.
There were a few interesting decisions on this roster. At fullback, it was basically a battle between Fred Beasley and Moran Norris, who split the bulk of the workload last decade. At the #2 wide receiver spot, I went against popular opinion and went with one of my favorite under-appreciated 49ers in Tai Streets. Rice went in to honorable mention because he was only a 49er for 1 year this past decade. Just my own rule I suppose. In generally it was not too difficult to make some of these calls. The offensive line was the hardest without some hard stats to back it up, but basically if you were a 49er before 2005 you had a much better shot.
Honorable Mentions: WR Jerry Rice, OT Joe Staley, WR Arnaz Battle, TE Eric Johnson, FB Moran Norris, C Eric Heitmann (yes, he had a shot at two spots on this roster)
In looking at the defense, I didn't go with a particular scheme. It was a mix of gut feeling and statistical accumulation. Again, it's based on the 3-4 so even though we've got a nose tackle mixed in there, don't assume it's a problem because we're going with a 4-3 defense. Consider them in their individual performances. One interesting thing I found is that guys like Brandon Moore and Jamie Winborn had decent stats in total, but still fall behind Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson in my book.
Honorable Mentions: LB Derek Smith, SS Michael Lewis, CB Nate Clements, DE John Engelberger
The kicker and punter were the easiest players to select on this entire roster. Statistically Andy Lee and Joe Nedney have dominated at their respective positions for the 49ers. There is no argument for anybody else in my opinion. The return men, on the other hand, have been a fairly motley crew. Hicks gets selected just based on the sheer totality of his numbers. Rossum was an honorable mention because he had one very solid year in 2008, even with his injuries. Let's hope the teens have someone who inspires us a bit more at the return position.
K: Joe Nedney
P: Andy Lee
KR: Maurice Hicks
PR: Jimmy Williams
Honorable Mentions: KR/PR Allen Rossum