We all have regrets in life and when we reflect on those regrets we often ask what were we thinking. For example, did I really date him/her or,did I just waste three hours of my life and watch Titanic for the third time? Regrets are also made by our favorite football teams on draft days. The San Francisco 49ers, who are often praised for the draft picks, have made a few mistakes. One of the biggest blunder was picking Jim Druckenmiller with their First Round pick in 1997. Druckenmiller is easily the worse pick in 49ers history and below are the reason why and also what players they missed out on that could have propelled their franchise to a few more championships.
Jim Druckenmiller came into the draft with some hype backing him. First of all he was at Virginia Tech, where he played in a pro-style offense under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Frank Beamer. Also, Druckenmiller's completion percentage while in Blacksburg was well over 50%, so there was a lot to like about him. However there was one problem with the team selection, not everyone was on board with Druckenmiller as the future franchise quarterback. Bill Walsh, who was consulting the team on this pick, informed the decision makers that Jake Plummer out of Arizona State was the way to go. The team ignored the man that picked Joe Montana, and traded for Steve Young and went with Jim Druckenmiller. For his career Druckenmiller gave the 49ers 52 pass attempts while only completing 21 of them, 239 yards, one TD while throwing four interceptions. While Jake Plummer led the Phoenix, now Arizona Cardinals to the playoffs. Plummer career win/loss record wasn't stellar but he did pass for 161 TD's, while throwing for 161 interceptions (at least Jake can say he finished even for his career).
OK, so the case for Jake "The Snake" not so compelling. Here are two other players who were drafted in the same class as Druckenmiller and after him:
- Jason Taylor, Outside Linebacker, Future Hall of Famer, had 578 tackles, 139.5 sacks, 40 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions, not bad for a guy out of Akron drafted in the third round.
- Ronde Barber, Defensive Back, 1025 career tackles, 47 interceptions, 15forced fumbles, and 12 career TD's in a 15 year career.
Honorable mentions as other draft day bust: Mike Rumph, Cornerback in 2002
J.J. Stokes, Wide Receiver in 1995
Every team has draft day regrets, but missing at the quarterback positions can set your franchise back years. Druckenmiller never lived up to his draft potential and when that happened the 49ers went out and got Jeff Garcia to take over after Steve Young retired. Garcia brought some magic to the position but he too never brought the team back to the Super Bowl. It wasn't until this past season and the benching of Alex Smith, that Colin Kaepernick positioned himself as the present and future of this glorious franchise.
San Francisco fans can you think of any other draft day regrets the 49ers might have made? Was Druckenmiller better than advertised? Would love to hear your thoughts!!