Previously, I took a look at why picking late in the first round hasn't worked out very well for the San Francisco 49ers in the past - with names like Kentwan Balmer and Kwame Harris, I didn't need to say much. But that's the draft history of some pretty terrible general managers or some pretty troubled ones, while there's plenty of good ones around the league.
But instead of taking a look at, say, all of the late-round picks over the last decade, what about the players taken at No. 30? Over the next couple of days I'm going to take a look at the players selected at No. 30, and also the players selected at the 49ers' pick in the second and third rounds as well. I think, after that point, it gets a little murky anyway, so there's not much point.
Let's start with last year, shall we? Make the jump.
2011: The New York Jets took Muhammad Wilkerson, a defensive end out of Temple, and he's got a long way to go before we knot much. Most actually thought Wilkerson was going to go a bit higher than that, but at any rate, it's not something we can judge just yet.
2010: Detroit ended up taking running back Jahvid Best ouf of Cal, and personally, I think it was a strong pick. He's a productive running back, who can get between the tackles, but more than that, is a very effective receiving threat. He is the kind of guy who has and will put up first-round stats ... if he remains healthy. Best suffered two scary concussions last season, on top of the brutal concussion he suffered at Cal. The pick may be lost if Best can't return, which is a real possibility.
2009: The Titans took Kenny Britt, a surprise, because Britt was supposed to go (supposed meaning that's what everyone thought) to the Giants one pick prior, but they took Hakeem Nicks instead. So Britt became the first-ever Rutgers player taken in the first round. He produced, then was arrested twice and tore both his MCL and ACL. So there's that.
2008: Dustin Keller was the pick, from the Jets once again. He's been a decent tight end with the Jets, with 815 yads in 2011, but hasn't been a reliable target. He's not putting up big numbers, but then again, look who is throwing him the ball. At No. 30, if the 49ers were to take a tight end, it's a safe bet that he'd be better than Keller, providing it's the man from Stanford we hear about so much these days.
2007: The San Diego Chargers haven't had much luck drafting in the first round of late. Buster Davis was their pick at No. 30 in 2007 and he's been a poor receiver. He was injured a lot, was released last season, signed by the Buffalo Bills and then released by them. This was the draft that the 49ers picked Joe Staley two picks prior, at No. 28.
2006: This is the draft that the Colts got Joseph Addai, and how successful that's been is open to interpretation. Addai is possibly the best running back that nobody ever really mentions over the last several years, but that in and of itself isn't saying a ton. Was he worth it? Probably - it's just so hard to tell in that Colts offense.
2005: Pittsburgh used this pick to draft Heath Miller out of Virginia, and that's worked out well for them. Heath has been a very reliable target with big-play ability (at times), and a constant for Ben Roethlisberger. He's slowed down considerably though, and overall, he doesn't put up a ton of stats. The last two years have been exceptionally poor. He also has really only had two good seasons.
2004: Detroit took Kevin Jones, a running back. He was injured a lot and really, he didn't produce much at all. He just wasn't that good, and I'd be laughing at the pick, if not for the fact that the 49ers took Rashaun Woods at No. 31 that year. So yeah.
2003: Speaking of Rashaun Woods, the 49ers ended up trading him for Sammy Davis, who the Chargers drafted with the No. 30 pick in 2003. He wasn't good. His "career highlights and awards" section is empty.
2002: Kendall Simmons was the pick for the Steelers, a guard who was ... pretty unlucky. He got frostbite on his foot after falling asleep with a cooling device attached to it, blew out his Achilles tendon and generally wasn't healthy for a good portion of his career. But he did win Super Bowl XL with the Steelers as a starting guard.
2001: This is a year that was a homerun - the Colts drafted Reggie Wayne. Need I say more?
I think the thing to note here is that there can be some strong talent at the pick, but overall, I don't think there's a lot of confidence-inspiring names to go with. That being said, it's a very un-scientific look at the No. 30 pick over the last ten years or so. I wouldn't mind getting a Reggie Wayne. Or maybe even a Kenny Britt. I just really hope there's no Sammy Davis or Kevin Jones.