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NFL Network ranks 49ers 1986 class, best of the 80s

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There's a reasonable argument that this is the best draft class in 49ers history.

NFL Network is hitting a point in the offseason where they are looking for anything and everything they can find to create content. Recently, they had a roundtable discussion on what were the best drafts of each decade. The San Francisco 49ers 1986 class got the nod for the 80s.

The 49ers added all kinds of big names in the 80s, but that '86 class was a huge building block for the team's sustained success. Here is the full draft class:

2(39). DE Larry Roberts
3(56). RB Tom Rathman
3(64). DB Tim McKyer
3(76). WR John Taylor
4(96). DE Charles Haley
4(101). OT Steve Wallace
4(102). DE Kevin Fagan
5(131). LB Pat Miller
6(162). DB Don Griffin
8(203). TE Jim Popp
9(240). RB Tony Cherry
10(267). WR Elliston Stinson
10(270). LB Harold Hallman

That is a whole lot of talent. There were some players that didn't work out, but the 49ers got some serious talent out of that class. Career AV is one way to look back at some of those older players, and Pro Football Reference provides a sortable chart from each draft year. I sorted that by DrAV, which is AV accumulated for the team that drafted the player. Offensive tackle Steve Wallace actually finished at the top of the 49ers class, and second overall, with DrAV of 70. New Orleans Saints linebacker Pat Swilling ended up with the highest DrAV.

John Taylor ranked No. 10, with Charles Haley No. 12, and Don Griffin No. 18. additionally, Tom Rathamn was No. 31, and defensive end Kevin Fagan was ranked No. 34. Second round pick Larry Roberts did not have a huge career, but he was a solid contributor to two Super Bowl teams. And Tim McKyer had three big years to start his career. He only played seven games in 1989 and then departed, playing for seven other teams in his career. I was a little young to remember him, but a quick look through talks about a guy who talked a lot of trash, and probably did not endear himself to a lot of teammates (thus the frequent moves).

It's hard not to love so much about that draft class. The 49ers drafted better players in other drafts, but I am hard-pressed to find a class with that much top-to-bottom talent. That's how you build a foundation.