Give & Go: 49ers Draft Laughers
(originally written by D-Rock 4/18/13)
With the 2013 NFL Draft looming, I wanted to chronicle the top five worst draft choices by the 49ers. Call me lazy, but I didn't want to do a "worst of all time" list (too much research). Instead, I'm goIng allllll the way back to 2003. Not only does 2003 cover a nice round number of 10 drafts, but it also marks the beginning of Dennis Erickson's bad influence; leading to the 49ers' darker days.
I'm not gonna look at each draft year in totality. It wouldn't make much sense to poo-poo draft selections that were made in the seventh round. Not a lot of gold is found in later rounds by ANY team. I decided to look at third-round selections and above.
So, i present to you my top five worst 49er draft selections from 2003 - 2012:
#5 Alex Smith, 2005 1st Round
I understand that I will have some disagreements on this, but I stand firm. Yes, Alex took us to the NFC Championship game in 2011. I remember. But I also remember 2008 (where he lost his starting role for a time to J.T. O'Sullivan) 2009 (where he was benched in favor of Shaun Hill) and 2010 (where Troy Smith started some games and was able to show flashes of more competent play).
Alex Smith had really good moments during his time in SF (I remember a night game victory in Seattle and good showings against the would-be Super Bowl-contending Cardinals), but to me they were few and far between. There was many-a-time when Alex would underthrow or overthrow a receiver, or show little signs of leadership and/or grit. He had the athleticism and the skill, but he didn't execute. To me, that's an unacceptable performance by a first-overall pick.
Who we could have drafted: Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback (I would have liked to put Demarcus Ware's name here because I'm not a Rodgers fan but the 49ers were in desperate need of a QB in 2005 so...)
#4 Kwame Harris, 2003 1st Round
Since Kwame was a bad player on a bunch of bad 49ers teams during his tenure, he didn't stick out as much as one would with his talents. Had it not been for the 49ers lousy depth at offensive line, Kwame would have spent most of his career as a backup. As a first-rounder in 2003, the 49ers were counting on him to be a stalwart on the edge. Unfortunately, the only thing you could count on him for was at least one false start per game.
Who we could have drafted: Nnamdi Asomugha, Cornerback
#3 Chilo Rachal, 2008 2nd Round
2008 was a puzzling draft year for the 49ers. I'd like to think that Chilo was chosen due to need rather than the Niners evaluating him as the best talent at that spot. There was a lot of clamor for DeSean Jackson by many an NFL fan, including those that bled red and gold. if I were given a choice between Chilo Rachal and DeSean Jackson, (knowing what i know now about the both of them) I would choose Jackson. But I would do so begrudgingly. DeSean does offer a lot of talent but he also offers a lot of distractions.
And for me to pick a likely team cancer over Rachal should tell you something about Rachal, who is a borderline cancer in his own right.
Who we could have drafted: Eddie Royal, Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
#2 Rashaun Woods, 2004 1st Round
"With the 31st pick in the 2004 draft, the San Francisco 49ers select Rashaun Woods, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State." That was probably the only time the 49ers fans got excited by the mention of Rashaun Woods. According to Wikipedia, Rashaun's NFL numbers are as follows: seven receptions; 160 yards receiving; one touchdown. Those are his TOTAL NFL numbers. When the number of teams that have cut you almost EQUALS the number of NFL receptions you have, then you aren't a good player.
To give you a bit of perspective, some of the other receivers that were chosen after Rashaun were: Devery Henderson, Bernard Berrian, Jericho Cotchery, and Patrick Crayton.
Who we could have drafted: Chris Snee, Guard; 2x Super Bowl champion, 4x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro
#1 Kentwan Balmer, 2008 1st Round
To this day, I'm still wondering why we drafted Kentwan Balmer with our first pick in 2008. I remember watching YouTube clips of this guy after we drafted him to see what he was all about. I wasn't overwhelmed, but he looked big and took on blockers pretty well so I was optimistic. Well, optimism can only take you so far. Balmer didn't see much field time, as I recall, and his relationship with the organization became acrimonious. He ended up going to the Seattle Seahawks (via trade) in 2010 where he proved to the NFL (and the Niners organization) that.....he really DID suck.
Who we could have drafted: Brandon Flowers, Cornerback
***special thanks to DraftHistory.com and Wikipedia.com for their helpful information***