Yesterday we began our look at the 49ers biggest draft successes since 1990 by discussing punter Andy Lee. He's turned into the best punter in 49ers history and I think that makes him worthy of inclusion on this list. Maybe not at the top of the list, but some reference is necessary anytime you're talking about the best player at a position in franchise history.
Today we move on to a guy who has gotten a lot of crap from fans, but made a lot of contributions to some fairly awful 49ers teams. In 2003, the San Francisco 49ers used their sixth round pick, 197th overall, to select Notre Dame WR/QB Arnaz Battle. When Battle started at Notre Dame he was a quarterback, but a wrist injury led to his moving over to wide receiver eventually. He bounced back and forth a bit, but came into the league as a wide receiver and special teams player.
People remember Battle for some of his truly horrific punt return attempts in 2009, but he put together some solid numbers for a fairly raw wide receiver on awful teams. To be perfectly honest, I had a tough time deciding between Tai Streets and Arnaz Battle for this spot. They were both sixth round picks and they both developed into decent weapons. The reason I went with Battle is because even though Tai Streets had a better single season best in 2002, Battle did not have Terrell Owens around to draw bodies away. Arnaz Battle managed to get over the 50 catch mark in 2006 and 2007 in spite of the fact that the best he had around him was second year tight end Vernon Davis.
We'll be getting to the truly high quality players as we move along this list, but in the meantime, I think it's perfectly reasonable to include Battle in this slot. He wasn't an awful receiver but he wasn't a great receiver by any stretch. Nonetheless, the context of his time with the 49ers make him worthy of this spot.
49ers Top 10 NFL Draft Successess
10. Andy Lee, Punter - 2004 NFL Draft
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