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49ers Top 10 NFL Draft Busts: No. 8 - Dexter Carter, Running Back

The first two days of our Top 10 NFL Draft Busts featured defensive players in the form of No. 10 free safety Dana Hall and No. 9 defensive tackle Reggie McGrew. We move to the offensive side of the ball and our oldest draft pick, 1990 first round pick Dexter Carter. The reason I dated this list back to 1990 was because I really wanted to include Carter.

The former Florida State running back was drafted 25th overall in the 1990 draft to be an all-purpose type of back that could offset Roger Craig. Although Craig was coming off a strong season in 1989, he struggled with injury issues and saw his final season with the 49ers capped off by his brutal fumble in the NFC championship game. Carter got plenty of action in a variety of roles including kick and punt returns, as well as time as a running back. His time as a running back slowed down after those first two seasons thanks in no small part to a ridiculous 13 fumbles.

Although Carter did manage decent yards per carry numbers, (4.0 as a rookie, 4.5 his second season), it was not remotely enough to overcome his fumble problems. Furthermore, as a change of pace back you'd expect a little bit more. He simply lacked a certain something to be a successful running back in the NFL. He did return two punts and two kicks for touchdowns during his 5+ seasons with the 49ers.

If you check out the 49ers NFL Draft history, it's interesting to note that Dexter Carter was the last running back the 49ers drafted in the first round. And in fact, of the five running backs the 49ers have drafted in the first round, Ken Willard (1965) and Earl Cooper (1980) rank in the top 30 rushing yards. Since the start of the Bill Walsh era, the three best "home-grown" 49ers running backs were drafted in the second (Roger Craig, Ricky Watters) or third (Frank Gore rounds.

Two of the bigger busts in 49ers draft history have been Carter and Terrence Flagler (1987). Any thoughts on why the team has done better with running backs outside the first round?

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