In 1985, the San Francisco 49ers traded up in the first round of the NFL draft to take a wide receiver from a small school named Mississippi Valley State. About a decade later, in the third round, the team selected another wide receiver from a little know school named Tennessee-Chattanooga. The first receiver went on to become arguably the greatest player in the history of the NFL and owns every major receiving record. The second ranks in the top six in receptions, is third in receiving touchdowns, and second in receiving yards. Obviously, these two players are Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens and their selections were symbolic of a team that built and sustained a dynasty with smart personnel decisions.

The 49ers have had their ups and down since the late 90's, and have ultimately came back to being one of the elite franchises in the league. They have done so by making (for the most part) good draft choices and smart free agent signings. But one thing has eluded them since the selection of Owens in 1996...the ability to draft a highly productive wide receiver.

The 49ers have drafted 17 wide receivers from 1997-2013. Only six of those receivers have gained 1,000 yards with the 49ers in their careers. Not 1,000 yards in a season, but in all of their years in San Francisco. Looking deeper, only one of the players (Michael Crabtree) have ever eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season and he has only done it once. That means out of 17 draft picks who have played a total of 46 individual seasons, only once was 1,000 yards surpassed.

A reason for the lack of production is also because a number of the selections did not stick around for very long. Eight of the players (excluding Quinton Patton who just played his first season in 2013) have seven or less career receptions with the team. Six of those eight did not record a single catch. In some cases, the players who did not accumulate stats were late round picks but that list also includes Derrick Hamilton and Brandon Williams who were third round selections and A.J. Jenkins who was a first round pick.

If you add up the statistics for all of the 17 receivers taken since 1997, they have 1,056 receptions for 13,644 yards and 83 touchdowns as 49ers. Those 17 players have 225 less catches, 5,603 less yards and 93 less touchdowns than Jerry Rice alone during his time in San Francisco.

But, you may ask, what about Michael Crabtree? Crabtree is a very good player and you can make the argument that he is ready to explode in terms of production. However, the 49ers took Crabtree with the 10th overall pick in 2009. When a player is taken at that point in the first round, the expectation is that he will be dominate. Crabtree has only played a full season once (2012) but even if you look at his stats over a 16 game average, he comes across as a bit of a disappointment for someone taken so high in the draft. Crabtree's career averages are 70 receptions, 921 yards and about 5 touchdowns over 16 games. He has only broken 1,000 yards once in five seasons and only scored more than four touchdowns twice.

Is this just bad luck or do the 49ers have some kind of fatal flaw when it comes to drafting receivers? Considering the picks have been made by different administrations, bad luck may have something to do with it but doesn't let the team off the hook. With Crabtree in the last year of his contract, Anquan Boldin (even if re-signed) aging, and Quinton Patton unproven, Trent Baalke needs to hit on a receiver in this year's draft or will run the risk of having issues at the position moving forward. Once scenario is having to greatly overpay to keep Crabtree around, which is something that could hamstring the franchise.

Here is a list of the wide receivers drafted by the 49ers and their statistics with the team since 1997

1997: (no receiver selected)

1998: Ryan Thelwell, 7th round, Minnesota
No stats/Did not make team

1999: Tai Streets, 6th round, Michigan
5 years, 168 receptions, 2,208 yards, 13 touchdowns

2000: (no receiver selected)

2001: Cedrick Wilson, 6th round, Tennessee
4 years, 97 receptions, 1203 yards, 6 touchdowns

2002: (no receiver selected)

2003: Brandon Lloyd, 4th round, Illonois
3 years, 105 catches, 1510 yards, 13 touchdowns

Arnaz Battle, 6th round, Notre Dame
7 years, 178 catches, 2150 yards, 11 touchdowns

2004: Rashaun Woods, 1st round, Oklahoma State
1 year, 7 catches, 160 yards, 1 touchdown

Derrick Hamilton, 3rd round, Clemson
2 years, no stats

2005: Rasheed Marshall, 5th round, West Virginia
1 year, 1 catch, -1 yard, 0 touchdowns

Marcus Maxwell, 7th round, Oregon
2 years, no stats

2006: Brandon Williams, 3rd round, Wisconsin
2 years, no stats

2007: Jason Hill, 3rd round, Washington
4 years, 40 receptions, 413 yards, 4 touchdowns

2008: Joshua Morgan, 6th round, Virginia Tech
4 years, 131 receptions, 1764 yards, 9 touchdowns

2009: Michael Crabtree, 1st round, Texas Tech (still with team)
5 years, 279 receptions, 3629 yards, 22 touchdowns

2010: Kyle Williams, 6th round, Arizona State
4 years, 47 receptions, 574 yards, 4 touchdowns

2011: Ronald Johnson, 6th round, USC
No stats/ Did not make team

2012: A.J. Jenkins, 1st round, Illonois
1 year, no stats

2013: Quinton Patton, 4th round, Louisiana Tech (still with team)
1 year, 3 receptions, 34 yards, 0 touchdowns