San Francisco 49ers: Regrading 2017 NFL Draft class
By Peter Panacy
How does the 49ers’ 2017 NFL Draft class grade out three years later?
At the time, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch appeared to have hit multiple home runs during his first-ever NFL Draft.
2017 marked a turning point for the franchise, of course, which included both Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan taking over what was previously a two-win franchise heading in no good directions.
So, amid a complete rebuild, Lynch was tasked with having a substantial NFL Draft, his first as a team executive. And by most accounts at the time, he did just that. One of the first incredible moves was trading down from No. 2 overall with the Chicago Bears, who owned the No. 3 overall pick, which seemed like an absolute steal at the time as both teams got the players they wanted: quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to Chicago and defensive end Solomon Thomas to San Francisco.
In all, the 49ers brought in 10 players from the 2017 NFL Draft class:
- DE Solomon Thomas (No. 3 overall)
- LB Reuben Foster (No. 31 overall)
- CB Ahkello Witherspoon (No. 66 overall)
- QB C.J. Beathard (No. 104 overall)
- RB Joe Williams (No. 121 overall)
- TE George Kittle (No. 146 overall)
- WR Trent Taylor (No. 177 overall)
- DT D.J. Jones (No. 198 overall)
- EDGE Pita Taumoepenu (No. 202 overall)
- DB Adrian Colbert (No. 229 overall)
Not surprisingly, the grades Niner Noise dished out to this class were pretty rewarding at the time. But there’s an argument to be made that grades can’t be totally assessed until at least three years at the pro level.
Well, we’ve crossed that point.
So, with three years’ field time in the books, let’s go back and regrade San Francisco’s 2017 draft class. There will be weight applied to each pick, based on round selected and the assumed expectation levels for each. Case in point, a player selected on day three of the draft isn’t expected to contribute anywhere near as much as a first-, second- or third-round prospect.
That said, earlier picks carry a lot more weight with their grades.
Let’s kick these regrades off with the Niners’ first pick of 2017, Thomas.