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J.J Stokes makes out list as a Dishonorable Mention
Our Dishonorable Mention list includes five players: J.J. Stokes, Kwame Harris, Kentwan Balmer, Mike Rumph and Antonio Langham were considered for the bottom 10, but just made it above the cut line.
The San Francisco 49ers made J.J. Stokes their No. 1 draft pick in 1995. They traded up to get him, much like they did to get Jerry Rice in 1985. Unfortunately, Stokes did not turn out anywhere near the player that Rice was.
Stokes did not have good speed or quickness and had trouble getting open against a man-to-man defense. I was very surprised when the 49ers traded up to get Stokes. At UCLA, he had the same trouble getting open against tough one-on-one defenders.
In Stokes' eight years with the 49ers, he caught 327 passes for 4,139 yards and 30 touchdowns. These may seem like solid numbers, but when you consider it's only 41 catches per year, for 517 yards and less than 4 TD's a year, you can see they are quite pedestrian. These do not justify trading up and drafting Stokes with the 10th overall pick.
Kwame Harris, the big offensive tackle from Stanford, makes our Dishonorable Mention list based on his first-round draft status and failure to develop. Harris was selected in 2003 with the No. 26 overall pick.
In his five years with the 49ers, he was often criticized for his inability to stop opposing pass rushers and a propensity for committing false-start and holding penalties. Harris also seemed to lack the aggressiveness needed to play the offensive tackle position.
Kentwan Balmer makes our list. He was an underproducing defensive lineman, selected 29th overall in the 2008 NFL draft. Balmer basically quit on the 49ers and head coach Mike Singletary just before the onset of the 2010 season. He was traded to Seattle for a sixth-round draft pick.
Balmer made only 11 solo tackles and had no sacks in his two seasons with the 49ers. One of the worst comments you can make about any player is that he was not a hard worker, and Balmer's work ethic was frequently questioned by his coaches and teammates.
Mike Rumph was once considered an heir apparent to Ronnie Lott. The 49ers drafted him in the first round of the 2002 draft with the 27th overall pick. They expected him to be a big, tough defensive back who could lay the lumber on a receiver.
Truth be told, Rumph was a good tackler and fairly good against the run. Unfortunately, he just couldn't cover anyone. The 49ers tried him at corner and the safety positions, but Rumph was a liability in coverage, no matter where the Niners put him.
Rumph also had injury troubles in his four years with the 49ers. Out of a potential 64 games, Rumph played only 43 of them. In those games, he had only three interceptions.
Antonio Langham was a free agent acquisition by the 49ers in 1998. They signed him to a five-year, $17 million contract, which included a $3.5 million bonus. Langham had played well for the Browns and Ravens, but for some reason was a bust in his one season with the 49ers.
Langham stayed in San Francisco for just the one season and was left unprotected by the 49ers in the 1999 expansion draft. Lucky for the 49ers, the Cleveland Browns selected Langham, which saved the 49ers a boatload of money.
Any one of these five players could have made the list as the top 10 most disappointing 49ers in franchise history. The amazing thing is that there are 10 players who are worse.