Doing it Over: Looking back at the 49ers 2004 draft

The steely-eyed visage of Andy Lee looks on in disappointment at the results of the 2004 draft class. "At least I turned out fine" he thinks to himself.

Due to some confusion about the grades in my last two posts, I figured I'd give my grading criteria.

A
1st round picks. Be in the top 1/3rd of the starters at your position (Aldon Smith)
2nd round picks. Perform better than 1/2 of the starters at your position. If you're not starting, then the best you can hope for is a B (e.g. Gronkowski, Rob)
3rd round pick. Be a consistent starter (NaVorro Bowman)
4th round pick. Be a consistent backup or a starter
5th-7th rounds. Be a starter or consistent backup

B
1st round picks. Perform better than 1/2 of the starters at your position (Cam Newton)
2nd round picks. Perform as well as an average starter. (Andy Dalton)
3rd round picks. Mostly backup, but occasionally a starter. Solid contributor to the team (Chris Culliver)
4th-7th round picks. Be a starter, consistent backup, or other contributor to your team.

C.
1st round picks. Starter but a below average performer at your position (Christian Ponder)
2nd round pick. Started but played mostly awfully (Chilo Rachal)
3rd round pick. Career backup (Brandon Ghee)
4th. Only played in a handful of games.
5th-7th. Made the roster

D.
1st round. Started, but played awfully (e.g. Harris, Kwame)
2nd round. Backup only. Only a handful of starts (Chris Cook)
3rd round. Only played in the league one or two seasons. (Rennie Curran)
4th-7th. Made the roster but barely played or didn't play at all

F
1st & 2nd round. Only started a handful of times (Derek Sherrod)
3rd-7th round. Didn't make the roster or record a stat (Daniel Te'o-Nesheim)

Now that we've got that out of the way (which I'm sure will have loads of debate all on it's own), let's move on to the 2004 draft class shall we?

2004
1st round - Rashaun Woods WR, David Baas G
2nd round - Justin Smiley G, Shawntae Spencer DB
3rd round - Derrick Hamilton WR
4th round - Isaac Sopoaga DT, Richard Seigler LB
6th round - Andy Lee P, Keith Lewis DB
7th round - Cody Pickett QB, Christian Ferrara DT

Rashaun Woods Pick #31
The best that can be said about this pick is "At least it wasn't a high first rounder". Woods spent only one season with the 49ers. He spent 2005 on IR with an injured thumb, then was traded to the Chargers in 2006. He was cut by them before the start of the 2006 season, and hasn't been on a roster since then. His stat line for the 49ers is a wopping 7 catches for 160 yards and 1 TD.

Grade: F
He didn't even manage to start a single game for the 49ers and only played in 7.

Other Players
Ben Watson (TE) was available at #32. Kevin Jones (RB) was available at 30 and was a decent RB. Michael Jenkins (WR) was available at 29 and was a decent WR. Karlos Dansby was available at #33 and would've been a great fit.

Justin Smiley Pick #46
Justin Smiley was a great pick for the 49ers at this spot. Smiley spent four seasons with the 49ers before signing a contract with Miami. He was part of the offensive line that Frank Gore ran behind for his record breaking season. During his time with the 49ers he was one of the best guards in the league in my opinion.

Grade: A
A second round pick that turns out to be one of the best at his position? Definitely an A

Other Players
Bob Sanders was picked just a slot or two ahead. Devery Henderson was picked after.

Shawntae Spencer Pick #58
Spencer has spent his entire career with the 49ers, and been an on again, off again starter. His 2005 season was easily his best season (and a tremondous season for any CB), but since then it's been mostly downhill. He's started 72 games for the 49ers, with 11 INTs, 58 PD, 3 FF, and 307 tackles.

Grade: C
Not a consistent enough player to warrant a B grade, though he did have a few seasons that would've earned him an A

Other Players
Darnell Docket was available as the first pick of the 3rd round. Nate Kaeding was available.

Derrick Hamilton Pick #77
Er. He played for the 49ers I guess? There really isn't anything else to say about him. He only played in two games and didn't record a single stat.

Grade: F

Other Players
Chris Cooley, Sean Locklear, Matt Schaub (I always forget that he was only a 3rd round pick), were all available after Hamilton

Isaac Sopoaga Pick #104
Sopoaga had a shaky start his first three seasons in the league, only starting 8 games. Since then he's become a regular starter and a consistently good player, especially the past two or three seasons. 6.5 sacks, 181 tackles, 9 PD, 1 FF during his career.

Grade: A
He's more than a consistent backup or starter, he's actually an above average starter. Great pick in my opinion.

Other Players
Jericho Cotchery, Mewelde Moore, Stacey Andrews, and Jared Allen were all picked after Sopoaga. Allen is the only one I'd take over Soap.

Richard Seigler Pick #127
Another non-entity, though he at least made it two seasons with the 49ers. Didn't start a single game, only made an appearance in 9 of them and recorded an average of 1 tackle per season with the 49ers.

Grade: D
If I gave out minuses he'd have a D-. He only escapes the dreaded F because he at least made the roster and recorded a couple of tackles.

Other Players
Jared Allen was available one spot ahead of Seigler. Gibril Wilson and Josh Scobee were available early in the 4th.

Andy Lee Pick #188
I really should let David wax poetic about Andy Lee. One of the best punters in the league and a multiple Pro-Bowler. His personal best punt is 82 yards. Over his career he's averaged 45.7 yards, and last season he averaged a whopping 50.9 yards per punt, a personal best. He's also only had three punts blocked.

Grade: A
Finding a consistent starter this deep in the draft is hard. Heck, at this point you're happy just to find someone that can make the team. Finding a starter that's above average is even harder. Finding a Pro-Bowler is nearly impossible, but that's what Andy Lee is.

Other Players
Andy Lee was actually the best player to come out of his round in the draft.

Keith Lewis Pick #198
Lewis spent five seasons with the 49ers in a mostly backup role, though he did start 9 games in 2006. Over his career he's managed 3 INTs, 1 sack, and 156 tackles.

Grade: B
Had he started more games he might've made an A, but only starting 13 games in five seasons makes it hard to go with anything higher than a B

Other Players
It's sad to say but Keith Lewis might be the second best player out of his round.

Cody Pickett Pick #217
At least he made the roster. Right? He played all of two seasons for the 49ers, managing two start in 2 of the 7 games he played. With a stunningly bad completion rate of 40% plus 4 INTs and no TDs there wasn't much to recommend keeping him around. Thankfully he was only a 7th round pick.

Grade: D
He did make the roster, so he doesn't get an F

Other Players
Patrick Crayton was available one pick ahead of Pickett and he turned into a pretty good WR.

Christian Ferrara Pick #226
A ghost in the wind, Ferrara didn't even make the 49ers roster and didn't play for any other team.

Grade: F
Yeah, you don't expect much from a 7th rounder but he needs to at least make the roster

Other Players
Eugene Amano was available still and he turned into a great center.

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