When Balmer was drafted, Franklin was not the player he is now, nor was Justin Smith and Sop playing like they are now either. All three of those guys are starting ahead of Balmer in a 7-man unit that is now being considered one of the top 5 or 6 in the NFL.
Balmer has gotten some playing time, and when he does, he holds his own well as a 3-4 DE. He looks like he could be a good player if there was a spot for him open. Let's hope that does not come by injury.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but the fact is, Balmer, a two-year project, was drafted just about where most teams had him rated.