As we go through the 49ers biggest draft busts since 1990, I have to say it's a little more difficult to assess those older draft busts. Over the last six or seven years busts are easier to view because the team as a whole has been awful. A first round pick in the last decade is viewed as a potential savior of some sort (even if minimally), so when they end up busting out, it's easier to remember them.
When we look back at busts from the early '90s, it's a little more difficult. Back then the team was winning the NFC West year after year and it was Super Bowl or bust. When the team dominated in 1994 it was easy to overlook problem draft picks given the free agent pickups and successful draft picks that proved key. Has anybody else noticed that, at least a little bit?
The 49ers selected Todd Kelly with the 27th overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, one pick after selecting Dana Stubblefield. Kelly had played defensive end in college but was converting to outside linebacker at the NFL level. As smileyman pointed out last year, this was one example of a college defensive end struggling in the transition to outside linebacker. He was brought in to be a pass rush specialist in the mold of Charles Haley and finished his two 49ers seasons with 4.5 total sacks.
Although it's hard to compare Kelly with anybody the 49ers select in a few weeks, it's something to at least consider as the 49ers look at potential outside linebackers. The team is likely going to grab an OLB and there's a chance that OLB will be a defensive end convert. Do people think about the conversion much when looking at such players? Whether it be Von Miller or a late round option, is this something worth thinking too much about?
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