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49ers history: Considering the team's Hall of Famer Draft frequency

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The San Francisco 49ers draft a Hall of Famer once every 4.9 drafts. Where does it rank compared to the rest of the league.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most-successful franchises in NFL history, but you didn't need me to tell you that. They've got five Super Bowl titles, second-most in the league behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and tied with the Dallas Cowboys .. and yes, it physically hurts me to type that last bit.

NFL franchises are often judged by the Lombardi Trophies owned by the organization and the legendary players from said franchise. The Hall of Famers each NFL team can count among its "own" isn't quite as important as a Lombardi Trophy, but it's definitely up there. There will never be another Jerry Rice or a Joe Montana, and those players will always be San Francisco 49ers.

But Fooch recently linked me to a rather interesting chart, which probably originates from Reddit at some point. It's a chart showing how many Hall of Famers each franchise has drafted and, on average, how often a franchise drafts a Hall of Fame player. Obviously, this isn't a definitive conversation about a team's ability to judge talent, as free agency and trades can be just as important as the draft.

That said, it's a really interesting chart. The 49ers have drafted 10 Hall of Famers over the years, which is tied with many other teams and beneath plenty of others. The Steelers are in first with 17 Hall of Famers, while the Chicago Bears have 15. But more interesting than that is the look at how often a team drafts a Hall of Famer, based on how many drafts they've had over the years.

At the bottom of the chart is the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that drafts a Hall of Famer once ever ... 31 drafts. The 49ers came in at 4.9, meaning they draft a Hall of Famer basically once every five years. Dallas came in first with a Hall of Famer ever 3.2 drafts.

There's plenty of teams ahead of the 49ers that haven't had the success they've had historically -- the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and, yes, the Cleveland Browns among them. It's definitely an interesting chart and worth a look.

Looking at the 49ers current roster, Patrick Willis and Frank Gore seem to have the best chance at the Hall of Fame among drafted players. Aldon Smith has the talent to join that group, but it is way too early to make any conclusions about where his career is going.