Cornerback Mike Rumph, Miami
Selected No. 27 Overall in the 2002 NFL Draft
In 2002, the 49ers were trying to figure out ways to defensively contend with the St. Louis Rams’ prolific offense, the “Greatest Show on Turf,” and the Niners figured Miami cornerback Mike Rumph would be a great addition to match up with Rams wide receivers like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.
With all due fairness to Rumph, he probably shouldn’t have been a first-round selection. Yet San Francisco was banking on Rumph’s ballhawking ways after he recorded six interceptions over the course of his three-year career with the Hurricanes, hoping that kind of production would carry over to the 49ers secondary.
Well, that never happened.
Rumph struggled with man-coverage skills, which prompted the Niners to try him out as a safety instead after two seasons at cornerback. While that move generated some modestly better results, Rumph missed the bulk of his 2004 and 2005 campaigns with injuries, and San Francisco decided it was best to simply move on, trading him to Washington in 2006.
It sure seems like it’s been a long time since the 49ers drafted and developed a top-tier cornerback, and Rumph’s flameout in the early 2000s certainly didn’t help matters at all.