DT / T, Minnesota, 1950
The 49ers’ third best first-round draft pick was the franchise’s first pick in an NFL Draft. In 1950, the Niners selected two-time All-American lineman Leo Nomellini, from the University of Minnesota, with the No. 11 overall pick in the draft.
The Italian-born Nomellini was everything you could want from a football player — or a spirit animal. Prior to playing football, Nomellini enlisted in the Marines, so he didn’t start his NFL career until age-26. The lineman played both offensive tackle and defensive tackle and never missed a game in his 14-year career in San Francisco.
However, playing both offense and defense for 174 straight games wasn’t enough for Nomellini. During the offseason, the lineman — nicknamed “The Lion” — was a professional wrestler, and in 2008, was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Nomellini was selected to 10 Pro Bowls, was a six-time First-Team All-Pro — on both sides of the ball — and was a member of the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team. In 1969, Nomellini was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his number was later retired by the 49ers organization.