The San Francisco 49ers kick off the 2015 NFL regular season on Monday Night Football, on September 14. That game is now a mere 78 days away from kicking off their 2015 regular season. In the spirit of that approaching date, I thought I would steal this idea from our Oakland Raiders site.
Who wore it best: OL/LB John Thomas (1958-1967)
Offensive line can frequently be a tough position for determining the best for a uniform number. There are limited ways to evaluate players from the early days in the NFL, and even modern players have limited stats to use. For No. 78, you could make a variety of arguments for one of John Thomas, offensive lineman Scott Gragg and defensive lineman Pierce Holt as to which one best exemplifies the jersey number.
Thomas gets the benefit of sheer volume with the team. If Gragg or Holt had spent more time with the 49ers, I could see them getting a little bit more love. But, I also enjoy showing off some of the notable players deeper in the 49ers past. Thomas was drafted by the 49ers in 1957, as a 23rd round pick out of the University of the Pacific (they no longer have a football team). It appears he was the 49ers last pick that year. He earned one Pro Bowl nod during his career, and was also named All Pro that year.
Who wears it now: OL Joe Looney (2013-present)
Looney enters his fourth season with the 49ers, which also marks the final season of his contract. He is the sole surviving member of the team's much-maligned 2012 draft class. I would be shocked if he was around past this season, but for now he provides solid versatility. He is primarily a guard, but has played center for the team when injuries leave them short-handed. He is not a lock to make the roster this year, but his versatility means he stands a very good chance of earning a spot. His future beyond this year remains to be seen.