Round 2, Pick No. 40: Running Back Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
Original Pick: EDGE Tank Carradine
Let me ask you a simple question — who would you rather have on the 49ers right now, Tank Carradine or Le’Veon Bell?
With a pick acquired from the Tennessee Titans, Trent Baalke tried to find a long-term replacement for an aging 3-4 defensive end, Justin Smith, by picking up the former Florida State pass-rusher, Carradine.
Carradine was coming off a collegiate injury though, marking the first time Baalke took a gamble on a player with such a risk. The idea was to let Carradine marinate, eventually turning him into a prolific pass-rushing force.
Four years, and only four sacks later, it hasn’t happened.
Meanwhile, Bell has been one of the most prolific running backs in the NFL. 2014 saw him hit 1,361 rushing yards en route to Pro Bowl honors and a first-team All-Pro accolade. And it isn’t as if the Niners didn’t have the need here.
While no one could have predicted then-49ers running back Frank Gore would continue his storybook career this far, San Francisco did have a need to replace him.
Bell would have been an amazing fit.