It's true. Remember the old 49ers? We had Haley a 4th round pick become a great player, we had Brent Jones a 5th round pick, Don Griffin was a 6th round pick, Kevin f*gan was a 4th round pick, Jeff Fuller was a 5th round pick, Michael Carter was a 5th round pick. Then McKittrick took later round OL guys and made them into good starters.
Or look at the Saints this year. Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas? 2 UDFAs. Marques Colston was a 7th rounder. Jahri Evans was a 4th round pick. Carl Nicks was a 5th round pick. That's 2 starters on the OL drafted below the 3rd round.
Or you can look at other playoff teams this year:
Dallas: Tashard Choice was a 4th round pick I think. Miles Austin and Romo were UDFAs they developed. They drafted Marion Barber in the 4th round. Jay Ratliff was a 7th round pick. I hate them but they've done a really good job developing fringe guys or unpolished or small school guys into starters and good players.
Baltimore: Jared Gaither was a 5th round pick. Dawan Landry was a 5th round pick. LeRon McClain was a 4th round pick. Jarret Johnson was a 4th round pick. They've done a decent job getting guys later on, and other guys they picked later on are contributors also.
Green Bay: Ryan Grant their starting RB was a UDFA. Donald Driver was a 7th round pick and has been like a 10 year starter and multi time pro bowler for them. Tramon Williams wasn't drafted and is their nickle corner I think. Cullen Jenkins was another sleeper they brought in and is a starter for them. They got a couple other late round/udfa contributors also.
So my point is, where are our late round guys? Josh Morgan who is okay and who else? We need to find some guys later on in the draft and we need to coach them up into good players. Hopefully with Solari as OL coach now he can mold some unpolished OL players into starters or good back ups. Right now on the OL we got guys who were 2nd and 3rd round picks who were between mediocre/showing potential/downright not getting the job done(Baas/Chilo/Snyder). Maybe they just need coaching up(Chilo), or maybe we could find a better player with a coach that knows how to spot talent at that position later on in the draft rather than wasting a pick on a guy like him(Snyder) because he looks like the highest ranked prospect and we need a guy at his position. We used a 3rd on Coffee and he doesn't really fill a role, we needed a big bruising running back and instead of getting a guy who is 6'0'' 230 or something, we get a 6'1'' guy that's 212 and really pretty skinny, but at the same time he doesn't have breakaway speed? If we had moved up a little bit we could've had Greene, the RB from the jets who would've fit our needs perfectly.
Right now we have like 3 guys who were picked later on in the draft, Heitmann(from the old regime), Morgan(who is okay but not great and doesn't bring another element to our offense), and Goldson(who looks like a legit starter for 5 more years if we can resign him). We've hit on some first rounders(VD, Willis, Staley, Crabtree, possibly Smith although we've waited a long time for him to come through, possibly Lawson although he's more of an all around OLB than a pass rusher), missed on majority of our second rounders(Chilo could potentially be good, Baas didn't really work out the way we planned, luckily we traded last years for a 1st this year so Scotty couldn't mess that up, we traded our 2nd with our 08 first for the pick that became Staley which was overpaying a bit, and we traded it in 06 to move up to grab Lawson IIRC). Coffee didn't do much as a rookie for a 3rd rounder. Jason Hill's had some opportunities and hasn't done as much as he was expected too, even though some of it wasn't his fault. Reggie Smith is still on the bench and developing. For Smith and Hill, if we were keeping them around as 4th/5th/6th round picks developing them, that'd be one thing. But to get guys 3 years in a row in the 3rd round that don't play very much? That's not good enough IMO.
With all this we've gotten some good FA pick ups and having hit on the majority of our firsts we have the structure to be a pretty good team. But to take that next level we need to get starters/contributors from later on past the 3rd round. If we want to make the playoffs and eventually become a super bowl team, you got to get value in your picks and get multiple good players per draft, not just 1-2 which is what we've been doing. The only draft we had that was really good was 07.
With that said, what are some guys you guys like later on in the draft who are sleepers but have potential? What are your thoughts on the guys we've drafted and the value we've gotten from our picks?