It takes about five years to fully analyze a draft class. Sure, you can say that the 2011 class looks strong for the San Francisco 49ers, thanks to Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith, and the 2012 class looks weak. However, writing a class off after two years is foolish; sometimes, it takes players a few years to really adjust to NFL speed.
As the seasons go by, however, you start getting a clear picture as to how your draft actually went. Maybe that stud you picked in the first round doesn’t end up developing, or that seventh-round flyer becomes a regular contributor on defense. Maybe that player you cut in training camp latched on somewhere else and became a superstar.
After five seasons, it becomes fairly clear which picks are working and which flopped.
With that in mind, let’s go back five years to the 2009 NFL draft and grade how the 49ers did. Head coach Mike Singletary and general manager Scot McCloughan were coming off of a 7-9 season and were embroiled in a quarterback controversy between former first-round selection Alex Smith and career backup Shaun Hill. How would they do in their first draft together? Let’s go back and see.