This is part two of my multi-faceted segment about the draft history at positions where the 49ers will be selecting in 2011. Last week I focused on the #7 overall picks, and was surprised to find that many of the players selected at that spot over the last 20 seasons have had real solid careers. Some were Hall of Fame caliber, while others were strong professional players. Of course, there were a nice amount of busts as well.
Today, I am not only going to focus on the gems that have been taken with the 45th pick, but some of the absolute duds selected there.
1991: RB- Ricky Watters, San Francisco 49ers: Five time Pro Bowl performer in his ten year NFL career. Ricky Watters was a true RB, out of the "old school" mold. He rushed for 1,000 yards seven different times, caught over 40 passes eight different times, and recorded a total of 91 touchdowns. Watters ranks 19th in career rushing touchdowns and 25th in overall touchdowns. Additionally, the former Notre Dame standout compiled over 10,000 total yards from scrimmage. It is in my humble opinion that Ricky Watters deserves to be in Canton one day because of his continued excellence over an 8 year span.
1998: TE- Freddie Jones, San Diego Chargers: Jones started 112 games for the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals in his seven year NFL career. He caught over 50 passes five different times and finished his career with over 400 receptions and 4,200 yards.
2005: LB- Lofa Tatupu, Seattle Seahawks: Took me 7 years to find another gem with the 45th pick, but boy did the Seahawks get one in Tatupu in 2005. Since joining the NFL, he has made three Pro Bowl rosters, compiled over 400 tackles, 10 interceptions, 9 sacks, and defended 40 passes; not bad for an inside linebacker. Tatupu has been the heart and soul of the Seahawks defense, and will continue to be a force as long as he can stay healthy.
2010: G- Zane Beadles. Denver Broncos: Started 14 games at left guard for the Denver Broncos during his rookie campaign. I have Beadles on this list not just because how he performed in 2010, but the prospect of him being an elite guard in the near future. Beadles holds all the ability to become a dominant run blocker moving forward, and if 2010 was a sign, he will.
1992: RB- Amp Lee, San Francisco 49ers: In nine NFL Seasons, Lee started a total of 14 games and barely compiled 1,500 yards rushing. He did have over 3,000 yards receiving during that span, but considering he was a second round pick; that will not cut it. This is why he is on this list!
1995: QB- Todd Collins, Buffalo Bills: Collins was highly regarded coming out of Michigan, but a poor combine performance dropped his stock. In the months leading up to the draft many had him going in the 1st round, but that didn't work out. The skeptics were right. Collins did have an extensive 16 year NFL career, but mostly as a back up. He only started a total of 21 games, going 10-11. Additionally, Collins barely completed 55 percent of his passes, threw for a combined 22 touchdowns and had a poor QB rating of 71.8.
1996: DL- James Manley, Minnesota Vikings: He never appeared in a game for the Minnesota Vikings in his two year NFL career. However, I could not find much more in regards to Manley, even after doing tons of research. Wiki ends his page by saying "he was a good man", implying that he is no longer with us.
1999: LB- Rahim Abdullah, Cleveland Browns: He started 17 games in two seasons for the Cleveland Browns before being released. Character issues continued to follow him into the Canadian Football League, where he was suspended and released due to on field anger issues. Currently, he is serving as an Assistant Coach for his former High School.
2006: RB- LenDale White, Tennessee Titans: One may ask why I have White on this list considering that he rushed for over 1,100 yards his rookie season and had a whopping 15 touchdowns in 2008. However, he has wasted the talent that was given to him at a younger age and drank himself into oblivion. White has continued to fall from the graces of the NFL circles, and after his former USC Head Coach, Pete Carroll, released him this past pre-season; it is evident that his career may be over. It is a sad reality to see a person with his ability throw it all away. Hopefully, when I do this list in a couple years White has redeemed himself and isn't on it.
2007: WR- Dwayne Jarrett, Carolina Panthers: Another USC alum that completely busted in the NFL. Jarrett was highly regarded coming out of college, but character problems and a lack of speed may be his downfall in the pros. In four seasons with Carolina, Jarrett has accumulated a total of 35 receptions and started only two games. Additionally, he fell behind two rookie wide receivers this past season, and isn't guaranteed a roster spot heading into 2011. On a side note, I am glad that the 49ers didn't take my stance on Jarrett and take him over Joe Staley with the 28th pick that season; shows you what I really know.
2008: LB- Jordon Dizon, Detroit Lions: Another player I was high on coming out of college, but he didn't produce one bit in the NFL. Dizon didn't start a game in two seasons with Detroit and only compiled a total of 24 tackles. Currently, Dizon is playing in the UFL as a reserve; not what you are looking for from a 2nd round selection.
Overview: The further I move down on this list the more players that are not going to pan out. That said, the #45 spot has not been team friendly. I was only able to find four players that really contributed to their team over the last 20 years, that is not a good ratio (20 percent). I understand that this really has no bearing on the 49ers going into the 2011 draft, but it is interesting nonetheless. Ricky Watters and Lofa Tatupu go to the top of my list of gems picked at 45 since 1990, but I would keep a watchful eye on Zane Beadles moving forward. Prior to Beadles the pickings were slim at this position. There is no sugar-coating it; Dwayne Jarret and Jordon Dizon were complete busts; while, LenDale White ate and drank himself out of the NFL. Hopefully, our 49ers can find a gem in the 2nd round this season, however, if history is any indication I wouldn't hold my breath.