No. 1 reason 2007 didn’t entirely suck for 49ers: Niners draft Patrick Willis, Joe Staley
If there’s one benefit from being a bad, bad team, it should typically result in a high NFL Draft pick the following year.
A season removed from finishing with a lowly 7-9 record, the 49ers ended up with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2007 draft, using it on an eventual fan-favorite player, perennial All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, who’d get the first of those accolades his rookie season while also earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in the process.
Yeah, the Niners absolutely hit a home run with that selection.
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But to make San Francisco’s 2007 NFL Draft class even better (it honestly was a pretty good one), the team doubled down in Round 1 by trading back up in a deal with the New England Patriots, a move that landed the 49ers left tackle Joe Staley.
Staley, of course, started off his NFL career by starting 16 games at right tackle before shifting over to the left side and emerging as one of the Niners’ stalwarts for the next 13 years.
Few likely predicted that outcome when Staley was selected, but it’s surely a good thing San Francisco grabbed him, as these two players cap off reasons why 2007 wasn’t entirely bad for the franchise.