The 13th overall pick: A decade-long retrospective

Over the course of the offseason we (you, me, Drew K, whomever) assess the upcoming NFL Draft from numerous perspectives. I thought we'd add a new feature (thanks to Big Blue View for the idea) where we go back and look at each 49ers pick number and what has happened over the last decade. So today, we'll take a look at the 13th pick over each of the last ten drafts. This weekend we'll check out the 17th pick, at some point next week we'll look at the 49th pick, and so forth.

There's obviously very little (if any) scientific validity to this since it's different teams with different needs. The 49ers have held the 13th overall pick just once in their history. In 1980, they drafted running back Earl Cooper out of Rice University. Cooper spent seven seasons in the NFL and basically peaked during his rookie season, when he finished with 720 rushing yards (4.2 ypc), 567 receiving yards (83 receptions), and 9 total touchdowns.

After the jump we run through the last ten #13 picks in the NFL Draft...

2000: John Abraham, DE/LB, South Carolina (Tennessee Titans) - Abraham has put together a very solid NFL career over the past ten seasons, albeit a bit inconsistent at times (relative to his own career). He's had five different seasons with double digit sacks, and currently stands tied with our own Bryant Young for 34th on the all-time sack list. With 89.5 sacks, a solid 2010 could push him over 100 sacks. Abraham spent six seasons with the Jets before moving on to Atlanta for the past four seasons. His numbers took a dive this year, but at 31, I'd imagine he's got another couple solid seasons in him. I'd say he proved worthy of the 13th pick.

2001: Marcus Stroud, DT, Miami (Fla.) (Jacksonville Jaguars) - Stroud has been a bit banged up over the course of his career (ankle injuries), but aside from from 2006 and 2007, he's been able to stay on the field for the most part. He's played a lot of nose tackle and seems to be rotating over to defensive end at this point in his career. Although he's slowing down now, he's shown himself in the past to be a solid pass rushing defensive tackle. I don't know if he was worth the 13th overall pick, but if you get a 9+ year starting career out of the pick (albeit between two teams), you'd probably be fairly happy.

2002: Donte' Stallworth, WR, Tennessee (New Orleans Saints) - Stallworth rejoins the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, after sitting out the 2009 season due to his vehicular manslaughter charge. Stallworth has lasted a while in the league, but I'd say it's safe to say he has not proven worthy of the 13th overall pick. A lot of that is due to a variety of injuries over the course of his career. However, even when healthy he's been inconsistent at best. His career best season was 2005, when he finished with 70 receptions, 945 yards and 7 touchdowns. Not all that spectacular. Other than that he's never surpassed 58 catches or 767 yards.

2003: Ty Warren, DE, Texas A&M (New England Patriots) - The Patriots acquired this pick in their deal that sent Drew Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bills. Warren has been a very solid performer for the New England Patriots, although it's been in a fairly unappreciated role. He doesn't role out crazy stats, but he is very good in his role as a 3-4 defensive end. Occupying blockers and making the occasional play is all that's needed and he does it very well. I'd say he has paid off as a 13th overall pick.

2004: Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin (Buffalo Bills) - They say a wide receiver often comes into his own in his third season. Evans had a bang-up third year (82 rec, 1,292 yards, 8 touchdowns) and seemed on his way to stardom. However, since then, aside from a 1,000 yard season in 2008, he hasn't quite taken it to that next level. He hasn't missed a game in his career so injuries aren't too blame. He's certainly not a "bust" in the traditional sense, but he is definitely inconsistent at this point. Of course, in looking at the 2004 WR class, Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams are the only guys one could argue as being better than him, and both of them were drafted ahead of him. So, not a terrible pick.

2005: Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma (New Orleans Saints) - Injuries have plagued Brown's career. When healthy he's been a very solid offensive tackle, but since being drafted in 2005, Brown missed the 2007 and 2009 seasons with a variety of ailments. Surprisingly the Saints put a 1st and 3rd tender on him, even with a missed 2009 season, so clearly they value him. If you factor in the injuries (he's never played a full season), he hasn't been worth the 13th overall pick. If he could ever get consistently healthy, it's a solid pick.

2006: Kamerion Wimbley, OLB, Florida State (Cleveland Browns) - After a strong start with the Browns (11 sacks his rookie season), Wimbley has cooled off, although he has still been a solid enough pass rusher. He was acquired in the offseason by the Raiders for a third round pick and will apparently line up as a defensive end in their 4-3 defense. Some talented guys went after him in 2006, but this wasn't exactly a bad pick. Maybe not fantastic, but definitely solid. It'll be interesting to see how he performs as a defensive lineman for the first time since college.

2007: Adam Carriker, DT, Nebraska (St. Louis Rams) - Carriker was a guy a ton of mock drafts had the 49ers grabbing with their 11th pick in the 2007 draft. The team went in another direction, and I think it is working out ok. Carriker hasn't been awful, but he's definitely underachieved since joining the Rams in 2007. He put together two less than stellar seasons before missing 2009 with a shoulder tear. There has been some talk he'd lose any chance at a starting job if the Rams get Suh, but if they go with Bradford at the top of the draft, it might buy Carriker some time to prove himself. At this point, the pick hasn't worked out.

2008: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon (Carolina Panthers) - Yea, I'd say this pick has worked out for the Panthers. After a very impressive rookie season, Stewart surpassed DeAngelo Williams in carries and blew up in the second half of last season. Apparently Stewart has been dealing with a bone spur pressing into his achilles tendon since before last season and finally got it taken care of. If he is now 100% healthy, he could be well on his way to becoming one of the best running backs in the league. Obviously he has to show he can perform at a high level for the next few years, but at this point I wouldn't be shocked to see him continue at this level of play. Definitely a home run for the Panthers with the 13th pick of 2008.

2009: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas (Washington Redskins) - Orakpo was slapped with the "workout warrior" label last year, much like Vernon Gholston the year before. However, Orakpo showed in his rookie season that he is a lot more than a workout warrior. Orakpo finished his rookie campaign with 50 tackles and 11 sacks. He has to work on his coverage skills, but the Redskins could not have asked for much more from the 13th overall pick last year. It's too soon to declare this a great pick, but it certainly was great for one season. I definitely want to keep an eye on Orakpo in the coming years.

So there you have it. It's an intriguing group of players that range from potential busts (Carriker) to very solid careers (Abraham) to potential for some kind of greatness (Stewart). Aside from Carriker, Stallworth could be considered a bust, but generally there has been some decent production out of these picks. Not all of them blow you away, but they've produced over the years.

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