The draft is soon to be upon us, and rather than talk endlessly about drafting a TE in the first round (why!?!), or picking up a guard (yes!!), I thought it might be interesting to review some of the 49ers previous drafts and give them a grade. 2011 broke the streak of bad and underperforming teams that started after the 2002 season, so I thought I'd go back and start with that draft and work forwards to 2011.
GM: Terry Donahue
Coach: Steve Mariucci
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Knapp
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Mora
Record: 10-6, 1-1 in the playoffs.
Round 1: Mike Rumph, DB (Miami, Fl.).
Round 2: No pick
Round 3: Saleem Rashad, LB (Alabama)
Round 4: Jeff Chandler, K (Florida)
Round 4: Kevin Curtis, DB (Texas Tech)
Round 5: Brandon Doman, QB (Brigham Young University)
Round 5: Josh Shaw, DT (Michigan State)
Round 6: Mark Anelli, TE (Wisconsin) Pick #201
Round 7: Eric Heitmann, G (Stanford) Pick #239
Round 7: Kyle Koiser, G (Arizona State) Pick #249
Round 7: Teddy Gaines, DB (Tennessee) Pick #56
Mike Rumph (Pick #27)
Started one game his rookie season, started 13 games his second year, and played only 5 more games for the 49ers due to a string of injuries. He was traded to the Redskins in time for the 2006 season where he played only 7 games for them and then was waived.
During his one year of being an almost starter, he recorded an ok stat line--2 sacks, 3 ints, 7 pd, 1 ff, but only 63 tackles, however he was horrible in coverage and got moved to safety.
You don't draft a cornerback in the first round and have him only start 19 games for you in four years.
If the 49ers had wanted to they could've moved up three spots and drafted Ed Reed. Andre Gurode was picked early in the second round at spot #37, and the 49ers could've had a long term starter at guard.
Saleem Rashad (Pick #69)
Started only 4 games for the 49ers in four years. His career stat line is 1 sack, 3 passes defended, 2FF, and 40 tackles. There really isn't anything else to say about him.
Grade: F A third round pick ought to start more than 4 games for the team, and should definitely have a better statline over those four years than Rashad did.
Other players available: Ben Leber, Will Witherspoon, Akin Ayodele were all LBs who had long careers in the NFL and who were drafted in the third round after Rashad.
Jeff Chandler (Pick #102)
Jeff Chandler is an example of why many teams don't want to select a kicker before the 6th round. Drafted in 2002, he played just two seasons for the 49ers, started just 8 games and during those two seasons attempted 19 FG and made 14 of them. To make matters worse, most of his misses came on FG attempts that were 40 yards or longer. After two seasons with the 49ers he was waived and then spent part of a season with Washington and then Carolina.
If you're going to be picking a kicker this high you'd better be sure that you're getting a great one. Otherwise you might as well pick up an undrafted free agent or someone in the 7th round.
Other players available: Alex Brown, DE. Played until 2010 as a very good defensive lineman for the Bears. Brian Williams was drafted as a CB by the Vikings and was a good one for a long time.
Kevin Curtis (Pick #127)
Drafted but never played in a game for the 49ers. Bounced around a few teams on the practice squad or as a camp body and is now a positional coach.
A 4th round pick that doesn't see the field once? I don't see how this can be a grade other than F.
Other players available: Larry Foote was drafted by Pittsburgh and has been a very consistent LB for 9 years now. He was drafted one spot after Curtis. Scott Fujita was also drafted after Curtis.
Brandon Doman (Pick #163)
I can remember watching Doman play college ball, and while I thought he was decent enough I couldn't see him as anything more than a backup, and that's basically what he was. He was third string QB for two seasons and is now the offensive coordinator for BYU.
It's a 5th round pick, but you'd still like the player to be on your team for more than two years, especially a QB.
Josh Shaw (Pick #172)
Shaw only played one season with the 49ers. He missed a season, signed with Miami for one, was waived by them, and then two years later ended up in Oakland for a year and then Denver for a year. He was never more than a third string player, and during his time with the 49ers he only played in 3 games, recording 1 sack and 3 tackles.
Yeah, it's a 5th round pick, but only playing in 3 games for the 49ers?
Mark Anelli (Pick #209)
One season in the league, only playing in 2 games and not recording any statistics.
I'm probably being generous with this grade, but Anelli was a 6th round pick and at least he made the roster.
Eric Heitmann (Pick #239)
By far the best pick of this draft for the 49ers. He started at LG his rookie year, and then in 2005 he played both RG and center. He wouldn't relinquish his starting position until his back injury after the 2009 season which forced the 49ers to put him on IR and then release him.
To find even a quality backup this late in the draft is pretty impressive, but to find an 8 year starter (and one who may have been a decade long starter had he not been injured) is even rarer. Based on the rest of this draft though, I'd have to say that this pick is more luck than it is anything else.
Kyle Kosier (Pick #249)
Kosier played in 15 games his rookie year (starting one of them). He started 12 games at LG in 2003 (played in all 16 that season), and in 2004 he was used as a swing player, switching between LT and RG and starting the entire season. The 49ers placed an original round RFA tender on him at the end of the season, Detroit made an offer which the 49ers declined to match and he left the team Kosier is still in the league and playing at a pretty good level. He's a FA who could be signed for cheap, and it would be a nice sense of irony to have him come back to the 49ers.
I'd give this one an A, except the 49ers let him go after only three seasons. However finding a long term starter this late in the draft is unusual. Since the 49ers found two interior linemen this season, perhaps it wasn't luck, so much as the influence of whomever the offensive line coach was at that time.
Teddy Gaines (Pick #256)
Gaines never made the 49ers roster. He was picked up by the Bears and placed on their practice roster, but never made that team either. He played a year for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe, and then a year in the CFL.
Yeah, he's a 7th round pick, but you'd like them to at least make your practice squad. If they can't even do that, then it would have been better to draft someone else and pick them up as an undrafted free agent.