There’s no way Trent Baalke could have known his third-round investment from the 2014 NFL Draft, former Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland, would have retired after just one outstanding year at the pro level.
Borland’s rookie season was pretty spectacular. With All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman (knee) out for all of 2014, Borland proved his 6-foot-0, 248-pound frame wasn’t too small for life at the NFL level.
All he did was lead the 49ers defense with 84 tackles that year.
One can only wonder what Borland’s budding career would have been like had he not retired the following season.
But for the massive impact he had this lone year, it’s impossible to leave Borland off this list.