How the 2013 Draft Class Hurt the 49ers in 2015
For all the grief Trent Baalke gets, there’s no way he could have accounted for the disastrous 2015 offseason that saw wholesale departures from the 49ers.
San Francisco standouts like defensive end Justin Smith, linebacker Patrick Willis, running back Frank Gore, offensive tackle Anthony Davis, offensive guard Mike Iupati, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and linebacker Chris Borland all left via retirement or free agency.
Oh, and former head coach Jim Harbaugh was gone, along with the majority of his staff.
Had Baalke capitalized on those 11 draft picks from two years before, the 49ers would have been in much better shape. Imagine Le’Veon Bell replacing Gore, Travis Kelce instead of Vance McDonald, Kyle Long or David Bakhtiari replacing Anthony Davis and you get the idea.
Those players would have had a full two seasons of NFL action under their collective belt, and the en masse departures wouldn’t have hurt so bad.
Instead, the 2015 Niners were forced to roll with linemen like Erik Pears and Jordan Devey, an oft-injured Carlos Hyde and McDonald’s lovely, lovely hands.
Yes, that was sarcasm on the last bit.
San Francisco went from a Super Bowl contender to a 5-11 record in one quick season. And the ball was rolling to Baalke’s eventual firing.