I was tempted to rank Patrick Willis second on this list, but this next guy did enough over the course of his career to get the higher spot. When you get All Pro selections from a fifth round pick, and that guy will go down as one of the better safeties in franchise history, I'd say that qualifies as a strong success.
In 1991, the San Francisco 49ers used the first of two fifth round picks (122nd overall) to draft defensive back Merton Hanks out of Iowa. Coming out of college, Hanks was a solid DB, but as we often see a poor 40 time at the Combine was a significant reason he saw his draft stock plummet (ran a 4.74). In rolling the dice on Hanks, the 49ers scored a phenomenal steal. Over the course of his eight seasons with the 49ers, Hanks secured four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro selections and was a key part of the 49ers Super Bowl XXIX championship defense.
I decided to go with Merton Hanks over Patrick Willis at the number two spot primarily because of the difference in when they were drafted. I know some people don't agree with that distinction, but I think it's a fair one. By the end of Bamm Bamm's career it's possible he'll have done so much that he'll have to be number one, but for now Merton Hanks and his chicken dance sit at number two.
49ers Top 10 NFL Draft Successess
2. Merton Hanks - 1991 NFL Draft
3. Patrick Willis - 2007 NFL Draft
4. Terrell Owens - 1996 NFL Draft
5. Eric Heitmann - 2002 NFL Draft
6. Fred Beasley - 1998 NFL Draft
7. Jeremy Newberry - 1998 NFL Draft
8. Lee Woodall - 1994 NFL Draft
9. Arnaz Battle - 2003 NFL Draft
10. Andy Lee, Punter - 2004 NFL Draft
Are You Smarter Than The Experts?
Correctly predict the first 32 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft and you’ll win $10,000,000!
BEST ROUND EVER IN PRIMETIME
Enter at facebook.com/BudLight
Here We Go
Enjoy Responsibly ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO. ©2011 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. No Purchase Necessary. Contest open to U.S. residents (except CA) 21+. Contest begins 12AM CDT on 4/1 and ends 5:59:59PM CDT on 4/28. See Official Rules for complete details. Void where prohibited.