Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the recent history of each of the 49ers’ 2021 draft slots

Apr 25, 2021 at 1:01 PM--

We're just four days away from finding out what the San Francisco 49ers do with their collection of 2021 NFL Draft picks. If past history is any indication, the 49ers will make some moves along the way that result in some shuffling of their current list of nine picks, but right now the 49ers own one pick in each of the first four rounds, three in Round 5, and one in both Round 6 and Round 7.

With the clock winding down before the draft gets underway Thursday night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), let's take a look back at what's happened over the past ten years at each of the draft slots the 49ers currently own. The results are mixed, but there's also been plenty of talent to come out of those spots.

Pick 3 (Round 1)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State (Lions)
-2019: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama (Jets)
-2018: QB Sam Darnold, USC (Jets)
-2017: DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford (49ers)
-2016: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State (Chargers)
-2015: OLB Dante Fowler, Florida (Jaguars)
-2014: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida (Jaguars)
-2013: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon (Dolphins)
-2012: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama (Browns)
-2011: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama (Bills)

So yeah, things haven't always gone as planned for No. 3 overall picks over the past decade. Bosa is the lone established star out of that group, while Dareus has been a Pro Bowl player as well. But other than that, the results range from total bust to underachieving to too-soon-to-tell. None of these picks cost their teams two future first-round selections to obtain, which puts the 49ers in a position of immense pressure to get this No. 3 selection correct.

Like the 49ers, the Dolphins traded up from 12 to 3 in 2013, but the move only cost them an extra second-round pick to make. The Jets traded three second-round picks to the Colts in order to swap pick 6 with pick 3 in 2018, while the Browns traded three late-round picks to the Vikings to move up one spot in 2012. None of those moves compare in weight to the one the 49ers made this year, trading pick 12 along with first-rounders in 2022 and 2023 and a third-round pick in 2022 to the Dolphins to acquire pick No. 3. It's not a stretch in the least to say that the draft legacies for the folks who said yes to that move will be on the line Thursday night.

Pick 43 (Round 2)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame (Bears)
-2019: LB Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii (Lions)
-2018: RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn (Lions)
-2017: CB Sidney Jones, Washington (Eagles)
-2016: NT Austin Johnson, Penn State (Titans)
-2015: LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State (Texans)
-2014: OL Weston Richburg, Colorado State (Giants)
-2013: DB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (Buccaneers)
-2012: WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (Jets)
-2011: TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame (Vikings)

The 49ers made moves with their second-round pick in three of the first four drafts in the Lynch/Shanahan era. In 2017, they used it to trade up for linebacker Reuben Foster in Round 1. Then, in 2018, the 49ers traded up from their original spot in Round 2 (pick 59) to select wide receiver Dante Pettis at pick 44. In 2020, the 49ers traded their second-round pick to Kansas City in exchange for Dee Ford. In 2019, which was the one year Lynch and Shanahan didn't move out of their original second-round slot, the 49ers selected wide receiver Deebo Samuel. They should be able to get an impactful player at pick 43 this year -- or maybe they'll use that pick once again to make a trade.

Pick 102 (Round 3)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: DL Alex Highsmith, Charlotte (Steelers)
-2019: RB Alexander Mattison, Boise State (Vikings)
-2018: DE Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State (Vikings, Round 4)
-2017: DT Nazair Jones, North Carolina (Seahawks)
-2016: LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State (Chargers, Round 4)
-2015: G Daryl Williams, Oklahoma (Panthers, Round 4)
-2014: CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson (Washington, Round 4)
-2013: WR Josh Boyce, TCU (Patriots, Round 4)
-2012: QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State (Washington, Round 4)
-2011: TE Jordan Cameron, USC (Browns, Round 4)

Pick 102 overall is one that is usually late in Round 3 or early in Round 4. There are certainly some familiar names here, most notably Kirk Cousins. The 49ers have had some mixed results in Round 3 during the Lynch/Shanahan era, with linebacker Fred Warner obviously being the biggest success. Other third-round picks for the 49ers over the last four years include quarterback C.J. Beathard, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, safety Tarvarius Moore, and wide receiver Jalen Hurd.

Pick 117 (Round 4)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: DE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina (Vikings)
-2019: DE Austin Bryant, Clemson (Lions)
-2018: S Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh (Buccaneers)
-2017: WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M (Rams)
-2016: WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina (Rams)
-2015: TE Blake Bell, Oklahoma (49ers)
-2014: RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona (Bears)
-2013: LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (Bears)
-2012: G Joe Looney, Wake Forest (49ers)
-2011: T James Brewer, Indiana (Giants)

The most notable name on this list is Looney, who is the lone player still in the NFL from the 49ers' monumentally dismal 2012 draft class. Fans will likely recognize a few other names on this list as well, including former Rams receivers Josh Reynolds and Pharoh Cooper. The 49ers have only made three fourth-round picks in the Lynch/Shanahan era -- running back Joe Williams (2017), defensive lineman Kentavius Street (2018), and punter Mitch Wishnowsky (2019).

Pick 155 (Round 5)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: DL Trevis Gipson, Tulsa (Bears)
-2019: LB Mack Wilson, Alabama (Browns)
-2018: C Scott Quessenberry, UCLA (Chargers)
-2017: LB Jayon Brown, UCLA (Titans)
-2016: OL Joe Haeg, North Dakota State (Colts)
-2015: RB Karlos Williams, Florida State (Bills)
-2014: TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia (Dolphins)
-2013: P Jeff Locke, UCLA (Vikings)
-2012: LB Josh Kaddu, Oregon (Dolphins)
-2011: WR Niles Paul, Nebraska (Washington)

Pick 172 (Round 5)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: RB Jason Huntley, New Mexico State (Lions)
-2019: CB Jordan Miller, Washington (Falcons)
-2018: P JK Scott, Alabama (Packers)
-2017: WR Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia (Broncos)
-2016: WR Rashad Higgins, Colorado State (Browns)
-2015: LB D.J. Alexander, Oregon State (Chiefs)
-2014: DT Jimmy Staten, Middle Tennessee State (Seahawks)
-2013: TE Nick Kasa, Colorado (Raiders, Round 6)
-2012: CB Jeremy Lane, Northwestern State (Seahawks, Round 6)
-2011: C Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock (Vikings, Round 6)

Pick 180 (Round 5)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: T Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas (Bengals, Round 6)
-2019: CB Corey Ballentine, Washburn (Giants, Round 6)
-2018: DT Folorunso Fatukasi, UConn (Jets, Round 6)
-2017: G Danny Isidora, Miami (Fla.) (Vikings)
-2016: WR Moritz Boehringer, Germany (Vikings, Round 6)
-2015: DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State (Jaguars, Round 6)
-2014: CB Kenneth Acker, SMU (49ers, Round 6)
-2013: LB Nick Moody, Florida State (49ers, Round 6)
-2012: DB Trent Robinson, Michigan State (49ers, Round 6)
-2011: QB Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (Ravens, Round 6)

Round 5 has been good (VERY good) to the 49ers in the Lynch/Shanahan era. The best draft pick the 49ers have made over the past four years -- tight end George Kittle (2017) -- came in Round 5. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw (2019) has proven to be a Round 5 steal as well, while defensive back D.J. Reed (2018) has made contributions for both the 49ers and Seahawks and wide receiver Trent Taylor (2017) was showing promise before getting sidetracked by injuries. Last year's fifth-round pick was offensive lineman Colton McKivitz, who could have a bigger role down the line after playing in 14 games as a rookie. The 49ers have three fifth-round picks this year, so perhaps they'll strike gold yet again. There are certainly opportunities to find talent in Round 5, as can be seen from the names above.

Pick 194 (Round 6)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: DT Khalil Davis, Nebraska (Buccaneers)
-2019: RB Dexter Williams, Notre Dame (Packers)
-2018: WR Russell Gage, LSU (Falcons)
-2017: DT Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State (Dolphins)
-2016: LB Cory James, Colorado State (Raiders)
-2015: TE Nick O'Leary, Florida State (Bills)
-2014: QB Keith Wenning, Ball State (Ravens)
-2013: RB Spencer Ware, LSU (Seahawks)
-2012: WR Marvin McNutt, Iowa (Eagles)
-2011: LB Markell Carter, Central Arkansas (Patriots)

Pick 230 (Round 7)

Last 10 picks at this spot:
-2020: C Dustin Woodward, Memphis (Patriots)
-2019: DE Quinton Bell, Prairie View A&M (Raiders)
-2018: LB Leon Jacobs, Wisconsin (Jaguars)
-2017: S Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville (Washington)
-2016: WR Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan (Bears)
-2015: RB Marcus Murphy, Missouri (Saints)
-2014: TE Rob Blanchflower, UMass (Steelers)
-2013: RB Kerwynn Williams, Utah State (Colts)
-2012: LB Nathan Stupar, Penn State (Raiders)
-2011: DE Cliff Matthews, South Carolina (Falcons)

The 49ers have done fairly well in Rounds 6 and 7 throughout the course of the Lynch/Shanahan era. The most impactful selection has been defensive tackle D.J. Jones, who along with Kittle are the lone players remaining on the roster from the 2017 draft. Others to make notable contributions from these rounds include a 2017 seventh-round pick in safety Adrian Colbert; three 2018 selections in safety Marcell Harris (Round 6), defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (Round 7) and wide receiver Richie James (2018); and a 2019 sixth-round pick in offensive lineman Justin Skule. Tight end Charlie Woerner, a sixth-round pick in 2020, also played in 14 games as a rookie last season. Linebacker Pita Taumoepenu, a 2017 sixth-round pick, and 2019 sixth-round pick TE Kaden Smith are no longer with the team, while the jury's still out on 2019 sixth-round DB Tim Harris and 2020 seventh-round WR Jauan Jennings.

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