Every year around draft time we like to look at the ghosts of drafts past with the San Francisco 49ers and reflect on the players allocated from the draft. We luckily have video of each draft thanks to YouTube poster and 49ers fan Marvin49. We’ll be looking at every year up to 2018. Today it’s 2014.
12 picks. In 2014, the San Francisco 49ers had 12 picks to play with in anticipation for the draft. They wound up using all of them. No wheeling and dealing here for trade ups. The 49ers made 12 picks. If that isn’t shotgunning a draft I don’t know what is. Today, only one of those picks remains with the team.
Coming off a brutal NFC Championship loss, the 49ers went to rebuild with a similar blueprint from the year before. That blueprint being they had a decent roster, so they could do what they wanted with needs. This draft was one that showed flashes of brilliance in the play of this class, but with the exception of Jimmie Ward and Carlos Hyde, most of these picks found themselves on the sidelines, whether from injury, poor play, or both.
For their first pick, the 49ers choose Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. A walking highlight reel of a ballhawk, but one that also was considered a bit of a reach. The plan (speculated) was to move Ward to corner where his speed and play could be utilized. This is precisely what happened. Ward’s rookie season showed promise, but there were also times where he was burned by bigger bodied receivers as he was introduced to the NFL game. His injuries didn’t help at all either. Ward’s entire career would be defined by his ability to go to IR, only finishing a season once in his career and failing to start a full 16 games as of this writing.
The second round had the 49ers take the heir to Frank Gore, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. Hyde was considered by some the best running back in that year’s class and quickly made himself Gore’s backup in training camp. Hyde was later not re-signed when his contract ended and wound up being a victim of the wrong places at the wrong time. He went to the Cleveland Browns in 2018, but they drafted a running back and traded him to the Jacksonville Jaguars mid-season. The Jaguars released him at the end of the season and now Hyde finds himself with the Kansas City Chiefs. This could be the perfect system for his abilities. Hyde never was a bad piece on the 49ers, but he lacked the patience and vision Gore had.
The third round is where things went back to some predictability. Linebacker Chris Borland was the shining pick of the third round. Unfortunately, despite having a very well-received rookie performance, Borland would retire after just one season due to concerns over head trauma. The other 3rd round picks? Center Marcus Martin was considered a steal at pick 70 but couldn’t put it all together at the next level. Guard Brandon Thomas wasn’t much better. Perceived as someone who could be a solid guard in the NFL and an early second round pick, Thomas went to the 49ers with pick 100 in the third round. Why the slide? An ACL injury, of course.
Bruce Ellington was drafted in the fourth round, a speedster out of South Carolina, Seen more for his collegiate basketball career (they even show video of it during his draft highlights), Ellington would be leveled with injuries during his time in San Francisco. In the fifth round, Aaron Lynch looked like an absolute steal his first year in San Francisco, but couldn’t seem to take things to the next level consistently in subsequent years.
12 picks. With the exception of Jimmie Ward, all of those picks are no longer with the 49ers. Ward almost wasn’t with the 49ers for 2019 as well, but he signed a contract for one year to return to the team. While it’s a good signing, a backup plan is needed, because Ward’s injuries are no longer an ‘if’ but a ‘when.’
As per usual, the DMCA biscuits have this thing on lockdown in some regions, so if you’d like to view the video, make sure to click the link to go to YouTube directly to see it. Or you can go here via this link to see the analysis of the draft.
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