San Francisco 49ers: An Autopsy of the 2015 NFL Season

4 of 7

Safety Eric Reid was one of only a handful of impact players selected by the 49eres in 2013. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Failures of the 2012 and 2013 NFL Draft Come Back to Haunt the 49ers

General manager Trent Baalke is another one of those front-office types who will draw a lot of criticism from fans for the formulation of a roster struggling to find any sort of headway this season.

Yes, the general manager has to bear a large chunk of the blame for this. But before we get to the woes, one first has to admit some of the 49ers problems can’t fall entirely on Baalke’s shoulders. Take a look at the retirement of right tackle Anthony Davis for example.

Davis called it quits after Baalke’s efforts in the 2015 NFL draft — completely altering the needs the team had entering the draft itself.

Still, San Francisco wasn’t poised to absorb the losses it suffered — many of which were likely or, at least, should have been adequately prepared for.

Baalke’s draft classes in 2012 and 2013 should draw the majority of the attention here. It’s no secret 2012 was a complete disaster for Baalke and the 49ers. San Francisco’s first-overall pick, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, went bust quickly. And No. 2 pick, running back LaMichael James, didn’t pan out either.

Offensive lineman Joe Looney was the last piece of that draft class to depart the 49ers. And he never secured a bona fide role with the team during his tenure in San Francisco.

One year later, Baalke attempted to make a better impact with a plethora of picks and a trade-up in Round 1 that netted safety Eric Reid.

Defensive end Tank Carradine never filled the void left by retired DE Justin Smith, and linebacker Corey Lemonier has been a bust.

Wide receiver Quinton Patton has had his moments, both good and bad, and tight end Vance McDonald’s pro career has been far from stellar.

Oh, and running back Marcus Lattimore retired before he could ever see game-time action.

Out of this group, Reid and defensive tackle Quinton Dial have provided the only consistent impact since 2013.

Aug 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke attends the inaugural football game at Levi’s Stadium against the Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The book is still out on the 2014 draft class.

Here’s the conundrum though: San Francisco was already loaded with talent in 2012 and 2013. So, on paper, the 49ers didn’t need to have a major influx of talent to remain elite during those two seasons.

But 2015 is when those draftees needed to make an impact.

It isn’t happening on a sufficient scale.

Next: An Inept Coaching Staff