Our last selection for this top ten, Arnaz Battle, generated plenty of debate as plenty of folks took issue with his inclusion. Depending on how long the lockout drags on, I might try and figure out a way to put together our own community vote on this topic so everybody can have their say beyond just commenting.
Our number eight spot is filled by a 49ers linebacker that often flew under the radar. In the 1994 NFL Draft, the 49ers used their last pick in the draft, the 182nd overall pick coming in the sixth round, to select linebacker Lee Woodall out of tiny West Chester University. Woodall would last eight seasons in the NFL, with his first six coming with the 49ers.
While Woodall was not a super flashy player during his career, he was a guy I always thought of as a grinder type of player. His stats don't overwhelm you but he managed to put together two Pro Bowl appearances and an all-Pro selection in 1995. Throw in the fact that he started in Super Bowl XXIX and he had himself quite a solid career. It's fitting that I really don't have a ton to say about him. That would seem to be his career in a nutshell. When I watched those mid-90s 49ers teams he was always a guy that seemed to be in the middle of plays, but as mentioned above, his stats didn't always reflect that.
In yesterday's Arnaz Battle post we had a big discussion about the issue of production versus expectations. Lee Woodall did actually produce at a solid level, but I think the reason he's included on this list is because it's arguable how much was actually expected of him. I do believe you can consider both production and expectations when considering how successful a draft pick was in the abstract. For an NFL team it all comes down to production. If a sixth round pick produces only a little bit, it really doesn't matter that expectations were low. They're going to be gone. However, when it comes to our own rankings, I think we can consider both production and expectations.
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