The first few parts of this series focused a lot on the exact positions in which the 49ers are going to pick in the upcoming draft. I focused on the history of each selection, what players stood out, and other players that could be called "busts".
I am going to change that up a little bit today. We are getting to the end of this series, and I have a hard time finding many players that have contributed a great deal. Consequently, I don't think that you can call a 6th round pick that doesn't pan out, a bust.
So, for the purposes of the final couple segments of this series, I am going to focus more on the recent history of the entire round. There was some confusion in regards to previous posts because the round that I took a look at may not have completely correlated with the history of the selection the 49ers are making in this month's draft. Simple explanation for that, the 49ers have multiple picks in the 4th, 6th and 7th rounds. It was impossible to perfectly couple both sections in the same post. Today's article is going to focus on the 49ers 190th and 211th picks and recent history regarding them. Additionally, I am going to focus a great deal on the 6th round as a whole.
2008: DT- Ahtyba Rubin, Cleveland Browns: Rubin started all 16 games for the Cleveland Browns in 2010 and is well on his way to becoming an all-pro performer. He had 82 tackles and 2 sacks in 2010 and helped the Browns rushing defense come up big in certain games. For example, he combined for 21 tackles during the final three games in 2010. 82 tackles is a large stat for a starting DT, and at 330 LBs is huge in terms of filling the middle.
1992: QB- Kent Graham, New York Giants: Graham was originally an 8th round pick, when the NFL had more than 7 rounds. Although never getting a chance as a starting QB in the NFL, Graham was an extremely valuable back-up QB for the better part of a decade, mostly with the Giants. If you can find a solid spot starter in the 7th round, it has to be considered a successful pick.
2003: WR- David Tyree, New York Giants: Well, if you win a Super Bowl Championship because of an amazing catch, you belong on this list. Tyree didn't have a great NFL career, but the one play he made was huge. Some call him a "one trick pony", but that trick was damn good!
2006: OT- Pat McQuistan, Dallas Cowboys: Pat is on this list primarily because of the possibility of him transitioning into a solid offensive tackle in the coming years. He started 8 games for Miami in 2010, and is locked into a starting spot next season. I really liked his upside coming out of college, and believe that he will step it up big time next year.
Best 6th Round Picks since 2005
2006: S- Reed Doughty (Washington Redskins), TE- Delanie Walker (San Francisco 49ers), G- Jeremy Clary (San Diego Chargers), DB- Drew Coleman (New York Jets), DT- Kedric Golston (Washington Redskins), P- Sam Koch (Baltimore Ravens), S- Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis Colts)
2007: H.B. Blades (Washington Redskins), LB- Desmond Bishop (Green Bay Packers), K- Mason Crosby (Green Bay Packers), FB- Deon Anderson (Dallas Cowboys), DE- Jacob Ford (Tennessee Titans)
2009: WR- Brandon Gibson (Philadelphia Eagles), CB- Jason McCourty (Tennessee Titans)
2010: DE- Greg Hardy (Carolina Panthers), G- Eric Olsen (Denver Broncos), RB- James Starks (Green Bay Packers), WR- Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), TE- Nate Byham (San Francisco 49ers), WR- David Gettis (Carolina Panthers)
Conclusion: It is obvious that the majority of picks you make this late in the draft are not going to pan out. Most teams are looking for special teams performers and roster fillers here. However, there is a small chance that you can hit gold this late in the draft; and, the above list is a great representation of this. Delanie Walker, Jeremy Clary and Antoine Bethea would probably be 2nd round picks if the 2006 draft was repeated five years later. Additionally, players like Desmond Bishop, Josh Morgan, Jason mcCourty, Greg Hardy, James Starks and Antonio Brown would never have lasted that long if the teams knew how successful they were going to be in the NFL.
People say that teams "draft good" in the later rounds, and that is true to some extent. But, a lot of that has to do with plain luck. For example, how many times did the New England Patriots pass up on Tom Brady before drafting him? I am sure that their front office did not anticipate Brady having the career that he has had. If they had envisioned that, I am sure that they would have taken no chances and drafted him much earlier than they did. Hindsight is 20-20, but good scouting at the lower levels can make a huge difference.
This season I see a lot of potential impact players in the 6th and 7th round. A lot of that could have to do with me watching the players in college, and being a little bias. But, I believe that you can see a football players when you see one. Greg Hardy is a perfect example of that. I had the 49ers selecting him last season because I believe that he fit their defense perfectly, and that he was being extremely under-valued heading up to the draft. With 6 picks in the final two rounds, the 49ers are most likely going to be selecting a number of "roster fillers", but I hope that they find at least one solid every game contributor.