In 1991, the San Francisco 49ers had two picks among the top 45 in the NFL draft. That season was significant because it marked the official transition from Joe Montana to Steve Young at quarterback; it was not significant for anything those draft picks did. In fact, the team got nothing out of them at all in 1991. Neither started a single game. The good thing is the 49ers didn't really need them -- it was a good football team. In 1992 it became a great one and those first two picks from the previous year were a big reason. The humongous Ted Washington (first round) got his first starts in what would become a 205-start career at nose tackle. And Ricky Watters (second round) ran for over 1,000 yards for a 14-2 team, the first season in an eight-year stretch where the 49ers averaged 12 wins per season.
I bring up those picks because last year, the 49ers also experienced a season where they made a significant move at quarterback, were still really good and, like that 1991 team, got less out of their rookie class than any team in the NFL. A.J. Jenkins (first round) and LaMichael James (second) were almost completely anonymous. So was the rest of the draft.
But this is the important reality: The 49ers didn't have a bad 2012 draft. Not in the least. In fact, that they had no use for two pretty talented players is because the roster was in such impeccable shape to begin with.
And even with a few notable offseason defections such as Dashon Goldson, Isaac Sopoaga and Delanie Walker, the roster is still in really good shape. This is why the fact that San Francisco has a league-high 14 draft picks this year is actually a problem. And I can give you five reasons why Trent Baalke, Paraag Marathe and the rest of a very smart draft room should be looking to deal as many picks as possible in an attempt to create very good draft picks in the 2014 and 2015 drafts.