Every year when free agency starts, I usually dig up videos of the San Francisco 49ers’ previous drafts for us to see some of those picks. The greatness that is modern technology lets us look back and laugh at analysts’ praise of future duds or their ridicule of future gems.
Youtube user Marvin49 collects the drafts every year and posts the videos up for everyone to see. This week, we’ll look at 2011.
The 49ers were picked by many to win the then-dismal NFC West in 2010. That didn’t happen, instead Mike Singletary battled dysfunction, egos, and lack of faith in a quarterback for a crowd pleasing 6-10 record. He was shown the door prior to the season finale and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was given the keys for one game.
Following the season, everybody and their mother had Jim Harbaugh picked to take over as the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Jed York had a season, ‘nationwide’ search for GM, instead promoting from within and giving Trent Baalke the gig. Baalke then coerced Harbaugh from Stanford and fought the Miami Dolphins off to ink the coveted head coach as the new face of the 49ers.
It was well known Baalke had final say on the roster, both the 90-man and the 53. Harbaugh, during the opening press conference passed it off as a non-issue but this very assumption of power was one of the many things that began the mutual parting of 2014.
But forget the future, this was the 2011 draft. With Alex Smith’s contract expiring (despite him holding camps to implement Harbaugh’s new offense to the team) the 49ers were expected to draft a quarterback early. Their 6-10 record indicated they needed a lot of help and Harbaugh’s transition would take more than just one season. As it turns out, this draft simply placed the final pieces the 49ers needed.
in the first round, they went with Aldon Smith. A young kid out of Missouri that analysts cautioned for his maturity and youth. For the second round, the 49ers traded with the Denver Broncos to snag Colin Kaepernick, a WAC star known for his running and throwing ability—but a pick many said would be a project.
Those two stars would be bound to the 49ers future for a number of years, contributing to good and bad moments.
From the fourth round on came complementary pieces. Kendall Hunter’s pick in the 4th made many think the young Oklahoma State star would be the heir to Frank Gore’s throne in a few years, followed by Daniel Kilgore in the 5th. Of this draft class, only Kilgore remains on the team.
Looking at the picks below, this was, without a doubt, the best draft in the Baalke/Harbaugh era and the only one that yielded several starters who caused their own versions of damage on the field.
As always, the DMCA biscuits from the NFL have this thing flagged, so many of you will have to go to YouTube to watch the video. Sorry, they just don’t like us showing free film that isn’t available. By any other means.
1. Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
2. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
3. Chris Culliver, CB, South Carolina
4. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
5. Daniel Kilgore, OL, Appalachian State
6. Ronald Johnson, WR, USC7. Colin Jones, S, TCU
8. Bruce Miller, DL/FB, Central Florida
9. Michael Person, OL, Montana State10. Curtis Holcomb, CB, Florida A&M