Players the 49ers did not take:

Tavon Austin. Imagine this jet-speed jitterbug, among the Niners' possession plodders, receiving Kaepernick passes in tight spaces, end-zone bound. Or he might have returned punts, kickoffs, even run some read-options. Who, then, could have possibly stopped the 49er offense? Certainly not the Seahawks, with their too-tall corners. Tavon would have ducked under them and disappeared. Sometimes, saviors do come in small packages. Luckily, 49er fans will get to watch him, or at least his backside, twice a year as, now with the Rams, he skitters into the end-zone against the team that once loved him. Fate. Cruel, cruel fate.

Sheldon Richardson could have joined the 49ers heretofore minimal defensive-line rotation, until ready for full-time duty as Justin Smith's replacement. Sure, Cornelius Carradine may do the same, but, after all, Richardson attended the same college as the Smith Brothers. Show me, ye football Gods, some pattern, some order, some meaning to this NFL universe.

Jonathan Cyprien. Had we but been patient this pick would have courted us. Unlike the above-two players, we would not have needed a trade-up to get him. And what a magnificent physical specimen: fast, large for his position, and willing to hit. Sounds suspiciously like Eric Reid, except from a smaller school, but no matter. The heart has its own reasons.

Zack Ertz. Worse and worse. Our own team spurned this local lad not once, in the first round, but twice, also forsaking him in the second round, trading down for another. And Harbaugh recruited him to Stanford! Is there, finally, no justice in this fickle league?

And, so, the post-draft blues set in, as, crestfallen from the losses of our one-time beloveds, we nurse our hurts and valiantly attempt not to dwell on what might have been. Move on, our therapists, and accountants, tell us. Tomorrow is another day. And yet. And yet. Who among us does not reserve some small portion of regret, beyond reason, beyond sanity, beyond even the solace of Mel Kiper? Still, we long. We yearn. We hunger.

Alas, this sweet, and deliciously self-indulgent, melancholy will dissipate soon enough, and no doubt our regret subside, perhaps sooner than it should. The NFL, with its now year-round marketing mechanics, will see to that. Before spring ends, we will have forgotten our pre-draft romances, as rookie camps begin and we start to assess what the new additions might mean for next year's prospects. Because, of course, we dream our crushes, fantasize about, flirt with, and sometimes even date them. But the players our teams actually select we marry; at very least, we desire longer-term relationships with them.

Meanwhile, the dashed hopes and unrealized wishes from our derelict crushes pile up like the rubble around the sluiced-out mines of the long-ago, original, 49ers, gold played out, the silver gone. For, unlike the NFL, with its annual rite-of-spring replenishment draft, none of us are getting any younger. And so, farewell, draft crushes. Till next year comes again, farewell.