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. Today, we’ll look at 2014.
Following a very aggravating loss in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers entered the 2014 draft with a lot of scuttlebutt going on. Head coach Jim Harbaugh’s job was head-scratchingly under jeopardy. Just a few months prior, Cleveland was reportedly a trade destination for the coach that had taken the 49ers to at least an NFC championship game in each of his three seasons as coach of the 49ers. Owner Jed York called the report untrue, but the writing was on the wall: something was seriously wrong in San Francisco.
Things started heating up as the draft approached: Harbaugh and Trent Baalke didn’t get along, Harbaugh and York didn’t get along, players were fed up with Harbaugh (though that final report wouldn’t take over until the season began). It all pointed to a disaster of a draft.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t. The 49ers began by taking Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. A polarizing pick. While everyone praised Ward’s ability as a playmaker, he was placed further down on many draft boards. Others saw him as the corner San Francisco needed, however he would be in desperate need of development. So far, his versatility may have justified the pick.
In the second round the 49ers took Ohio State star Carlos Hyde, considered by some the best running back in this year’s class. This was partly made possible thanks to the Tennessee Titans drafting Bishop Sankey. Hyde was considered the heir apparent to Frank Gore and after sitting behind the Inconvenient Truth for one season, became San Francisco’s lead back.
Two solid picks were followed by the pick of Marcus Martin. The final player left in the NFL Draft’s green room having been picked in the 3rd round. As the years went on, there was a good reason why he never left the green room.
From there, lots of picks that inspired hope came in, but most were unable to work out. Chris Borland made a name for himself immediately upon entering the NFL, but would decide to retire after one season and Bruce Ellington had the speed people loved, but the health that kept him sidelined. There were also additions to the ACL All-Stars, with Brandon Thomas and Trey Millard, two folks who are no longer on the team.
The genius pick was Aaron Lynch, a nice pass rusher who had some concerns coming into the draft, but for a fifth round pick, he’s been more than adequate.
While the 2014 draft wasn’t nigh terrible, Trent Baalke failed at getting any breakout playmakers and instead snagged some decent stars. Unfortunately, while this draft was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, the drought from the last two drafts would begin to spell the end of the 49ers brief run as a football powerhouse.
Jim Harbaugh would not be returning after this season.
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.
Round 1 - Pick 30 - Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Round 2 - Pick 57 - Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Round 3 - Pick 70 - Marcus Martin, C, USC
Round 3 - Pick 77 - Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Round 3 - Pick 100 - Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson
Round 4 - Pick 106 - Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Round 4 - Pick 129 - Dontae Johnson, CB, North Carolina State
Round 5 - Pick 150 - Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
Round 5 - Pick 170 - Keith Reaser, DB, Florida Atlantic
Round 6 - Pick 180 - Kenneth Acker, DB, Southern Methodist
Round 7 - Pick 243 - Kaleb Ramsey, DT, Boston College
Round 7 - Pick 245 - Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma