49ers NFL Draft history: Ranking 10 best late-round picks
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: 49ers Wide Receiver Dwight Clark
Round 10, No. 249 Overall in the 1979 NFL Draft
As far as fan favorites go, few come closer to reaching the status of the late great wide receiver, Dwight Clark, whom Bill Walsh just so happened to notice when he was scouting Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller. Fuller called upon Clark to catch his passes.
Walsh ultimately selected quarterback Joe Montana instead, and that’s history enough. But Walsh had eyes on the 6-foot-4 Clark and made him arguably the biggest sleeper selection in 49ers NFL Draft history, getting him in Round 10 after so many other teams passed on him multiple times again and again.
Clark’s impact on the team is highlighted by “The Catch” during the 1982 NFC Championship versus the Dallas Cowboys.
But what’s sometimes forgotten is just how big a role he played in transforming the Niners from a laughingstock in the late 1970s into the team of the 1980s. Clark’s 506 receptions rank fourth on the franchise’s all-time list, while his 6,750 receiving yards rank third.
And if it weren’t for players like Montana, quarterback Steve Young and wide receiver Jerry Rice, one could easily acknowledge Clark as the face of the 49ers for posterity.