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Taking a look back at 49ers’ late round picks, & who to get excited for this year

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Can the 49ers find the next late round phenom?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s pretty common to see sixth and seventh round draft picks be involved in trades. We joke about these picks a lot, assuming they are throwaway picks just used as trade ammunition to move around in the draft. For example, last year we saw the San Francisco 49ers trade their seventh round pick in a deal to move up for C.J. Beathard in the third round.

Don’t get me wrong, we can get overly excited for these picks (as we are all hoping for the biggest draft steal since Tom Brady), just as we have the tendency to do for undrafted free agents. How excited, or subdued, should we actually be for these picks?

For me, I’m always excited for these late round picks. These are guys who tend to come into the league with something to prove and a chip on their shoulder. However, reviewing the sixth and seventh round picks of the 49ers over the last five years doesn’t leave much to be excited for.

2017: Pita Taumoepenu (6), D.J. Jones (6), Adrian Colbert (7)

2016: Jeff Driskel (6), Kelvin Taylor (6), Aaron Burbridge (6), Prince Charles Iworah (7)

2015: Ian Silberman (6), Trent Brown (7), Rory Anderson (7)

2014: Kenneth Acker (6), Kaleb Ramsey (7), Trey Millard (7)

2013: Nick Moody (6), B.J. Daniels (7), Carter Bykowski (7), Marcus Cooper (7)

Those names bring back some memories. Over the past five years the 49ers have had 17 picks in the last two rounds. Out of those 17 picks, Colbert and Brown, are the obvious big names. A lot of the other names provided us with fun discussions for the preseason but in the long run they did not deliver much. This year the 49ers own one sixth round pick and two seventh round picks. Let’s take a look at some possible late round picks that we can get excited for this year.

Antonio Callaway WR, Florida

Very exciting player to watch, when he is on the field. Callaway has been hindered by off-field issues during his time at Florida.

Pros: Great speed, electric in the open field, route running is a plus, threat in the return game.
Cons: Character issues, focus (probably lead to drops), size (5-11, 197)
Comp: Tyler Lockett

Roc Thomas RB, Jax State

An original Auburn recruit and former Gatorade H.S. POY winner, had injury issues which eventually lead to transferring to Jacksonville State.

Pros: Good downhill runner, agility, big play ability
Cons: Patience, pass protection.
Comp: Most plant and go type runners

Jordan Wilkins RB, Ole Miss

A big bodied RB who has good speed but does not utilize his size. Missed a full season due to a school administrative error.

Pros: Big body, quick feet, patience
Cons: Not a downhill runner, pass protection, needs work on inside runs
Comp: Tevin Coleman

Tyler Conklin TE, Central Michigan

Good pass catching TE who has weaknesses due to past injuries. Potential red-zone threat who could also be limited to only being a red-zone threat.

Pros: Good hands, body control, awareness
Cons: Lost quickness due to injury, injuries, route running
Comp: Anthony Fasano

Tanner Lee QB, Nebraska

A QB who has the skills but lacks the vision. He has a pretty high ceiling and a very low floor. I have read scouts are concerned that his problems may not be correctable, but if they are, watch out.

Pros: Arm strength, tight spiral, deep ball, quick release
Cons: Lacks anticipation and timing, makes bad decisions, pocket awareness
Comp: ??

These players could easily go before the sixth round, just as they could end up being UDFA’s. I really find Tanner Lee interesting. The reports on him over the last couple years are all over the place. Some scouts think he has great potential and a legitimate skill set, whereas some scouts think he will just be a good scout team QB. Who knows? That is the excitement of these prospects in the draft. Who are some late round sleepers you have on your radar?