In 1996, the San Francisco 49ers used their third round pick, 89th overall, on Tennessee-Chattanooga wide receiver Terrell Owens. By the time the 49ers traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth round pick and Brandon Whiting, TO had emerged as one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL. In eight seasons with the 49ers, Owens caught 592 passes for 8,572 receiving yards and 81 touchdowns.
We could go through the numbers all day long. We could discuss his huge catch that helped defeat the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round of the 1998 NFL Playoffs. There's no question Terrell Owens was an amazing wide receiver. While there were questions at times about his hands, he worked hard to turn himself into a phenomenal receiver. If you don't factor in the "other stuff", TO could arguably be number one on this list of draft successes.
But therein lies the rub. In putting together this list I have elected to consider that "other stuff" that led to his eventual departure from the 49ers. How to rank Terrell Owens in our run through NFL Draft successes was the hardest part of the rankings for me. There was never any doubt in my mind that he was worth inclusion, but his eventual departure from the 49ers was not pretty.
Maybe I'm being petty by knocking him down a few notches because of the way he left the 49ers. If the lockout drags into the summer, I'm thinking we'll run a poll to see what the community thinks about TO's ranking on this kind of list. I'll use that polling program so you guys can vote how you'd like. For now, my own personal biases have me knocking him from one or two down to four.
49ers Top 10 NFL Draft Successess
4. Terrell Owens - 1996 NFL Draft
5. Eric Heitmann - 2002 NFL Draft
6. Fred Beasley - 1998 NFL Draft
7. Jeremy Newberry - 1998 NFL Draft
8. Lee Woodall - 1994 NFL Draft
9. Arnaz Battle - 2003 NFL Draft
10. Andy Lee, Punter - 2004 NFL Draft
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