Coach Jim Harbaugh‘s quest to rebuild the San Francisco 49ers in his image got a boost Friday with the announcement of compensatory picks for April’s NFL draft.
Awarded two additional seventh-round selections, the 49ers now lead the NFL with 12 picks through seven rounds. Along with the No. 7 pick in the draft, the 49ers have two fourth-round, two sixth-round and four seventh-round picks. It’s just what the doctor ordered for a new head coach with much work to do on a roster that netted just six wins last season and hasn’t won double-digit games since 2002.
Compensatory picks can’t be used in trades, but as The Sacramento Bee‘s Matt Barrows points out, the added picks bolster Harbaugh’s ability to use his other 10 picks to engineer trade-up scenarios.
General manager Trent Baalke wasn’t coy exchanging draft picks last April, his first opportunity to run San Francisco’s draft. Baalke swapped the 13th and 113th (fourth round) overall picks to the Denver Broncos to rise two slots in the first round and grab OT Anthony Davis, who came in and started all 16 games as a rookie.
We all know about Bill Belichick pulling Michigan’s Tom Brady off the board in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, but what kind of talent can be found in the seventh round?
Make no mistake, lucky-number seven has produced its share of diamonds in the rough:
TE Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos (1990) — An eight-time Pro Bowler and Hall of Famer who won Super Bowls with both Denver and the Baltimore Ravens.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati Bengals (2001) — Pro Bowler and 10-year veteran with more than 7,000 receiving yards.
RB Craig James, New England Patriots (1984) — Helped New England to its first-ever Super Bowl in 1985 by rumbling for 1,227 yards as a second-year pro.
RB Bo Jackson, Oakland Raiders (1987) — Jackson was drafted No. 1 by the Tampa Bay in 1986, but fell back into the 1987 draft pool after a falling out with the Bucs.
DE Michael McCrary, Seattle Seahawks (1993) — Two-time Pro Bowler and 10-year veteran who anchored Baltimore’s havoc-wreaking defense for six seasons.
WR Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers (1999) — Twelve-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowl wideout with seven 1,000-yard seasons and 54 career touchdowns.
Other names include: RB Jamal Anderson, Atlanta Falcons (1994), DT Leon Lett, Dallas Cowboys (1991), K Gary Anderson, Buffalo Bills (1982), RB Marion Butts, San Diego Chargers (1989), TE Steve Jordan, Minnesota Vikings (1982) and DT Jay Ratliff, Dallas Cowboys (2005).