The 49ers 1997 draft should have been a perfect draft day for me. They only had three picks in that draft, which made it easy for me to sift through all of my NFL and college pre-season magazines. It also gave me an extra day to waste on other things, since all three picks were in rounds 1 through 3. Unfortunately, my day was ruined on the 49ers first pick, and I was left with the hope of Greg Clark becoming the next Brent Jones. Clark was eventually traded, and that draft was a total waste. Outside of Clark, the other two players only stayed with the team for two years. Usually players who are drafted with that much value are picked in the later rounds.
The 1997 draft was critical for 49ers, yet due to either arrogance or ignorance, they basically treated rounds 1-3 like they were rounds 4-7. At least I didn't have to wait around that day to see who they picked in later rounds, since they didn't have any late-round picks. Not only did the 49ers give me an extra day of my life back, they also saved me money because I stopped buying those football magazines. If I want to regain my interest in the draft I may have to use another resource for scouting- especially for the later rounds.
If there is a local rodeo in your area, chances are there may be a 49er scout attending. There might be the next Cody Pickett or Bear Pascoe to rope them in like a steer in headlights. Pickett was picked in the 7th round of the 2004 draft (two picks behind the immortal Andy Lee!!). It was a round in which the 49ers thought would be the draft slot for starting QB’s like Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey. Pickett was a high school rodeo champion, as well as former Washington Husky QB, who now plays in the CFL. He was fairly big and tough, coming out of college at 6' 4", 215 lbs. Fans were intrigued by his rodeo background and waited in anticipation to see what they had as a QB. It turned out he wasn't very good, at least the time, but what do you expect out of a 7th round QB? Well back then we expected a lot, since the 49ers had three of them on the roster. Of course, there would have been no reason to bank on the hopes of a Pickett becoming our future if the 49ers had picked the right QB in the 1st round of 1997.
Someone has to remind me on what Bear Pascoe actually did as a 49er. Pascoe was picked in the 6th round in the 2009 draft. Like Pickett, he was a former roping champion in high school. Here is a snippet from his scouting report here at Niners Nation:
Strengths: Great height with a large frame and adequate bulk...Super tough...Has reliable hands...Excellent blocker both on the move and in-line...Runs with power after the catch...Smart...Good awareness...A hard worker.
Weaknesses: Stiff and is not very athletic...Timed speed is well below average...Not very strong...Isn't a vertical threat and won't stretch the field...Doesn't get much separation...Not very elusive...Poor leaper...Limited upside.
With a name like Bear (who was big and tough and could ride a horse), Pascoe became a legend as soon as he was drafted. I admit that I didn’t know a thing about him until he was drafted, and still don’t know much about since he isn’t on the 49ers roster - being cut along with KORY SHEETS before the 2009 regular season. Despite weeks of fan speculation on what Pascoe (as well as Sheets) would bring to the 49ers, he ultimately became a casualty on cut day. The 49ers seemed a little heavy on the TE side, and the 49ers really had gotten great value in 6th round pick Delanie Walker. Pascoe seemed more like a final "Mr. Irrelevant" pick than a 6th round bargain, and fans who waited around to see who the 49ers would pick at 184th never got their money’s worth.
The ultimate "Was Our Future" late round pick was pre-season hero RB Thomas Clayton. Drafted in the 6th round in 2007, he was a fan favorite who we hoped would make the final roster for good. Unfortunately for both Clayton and the fans, a season-ending knee injury was the final nail in our coffin of hopes and dreams. Even though he wasn't a champion roper, he had us tied in knots hoping he'd get his chance. Pre-season just won't be the same without him.
I don't know what I will be during the later rounds of the NFL draft. I'm fairly sure that the 49ers won't touch a player named Tiger because, well, let's just say there is a lot of baggage attached to that name right now. I do know there is a Longhorn out there with a name made for rodeo, and that could be an intriguing early-round hook 'em. Forget roping a calf for our future- let's see if the 49ers ride a Colt into the sunset. If he slips into the later rounds of the draft, I may need to change my plans for the future.