It’s hard to fathom the 49ers’ debacles in the 2012 NFL Draft were 10 years ago, but the ramifications are still being felt to this day.
Happy anniversary, San Francisco 49ers fans, to arguably the worst NFL Draft class the Niners put together in recent team history.
That terrible class of players then-general manager Trent Baalke selected way back in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Ten years ago, Baalke didn’t have to worry too much about hitting home runs with nearly every pick in the draft. San Francisco was coming off an appearance in the previous season’s NFC Championship game and was poised to appear in the Super Bowl in February of 2013. Under then-head coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers roster was stacked. It didn’t need a massive infusion of talent.
Regardless, Baalke’s picks, from Round 1’s selection of wide receiver A.J. Jenkins all the way down to the Niners’ final pick of EDGE Cam Johnson in Round 7, all fell drastically short of expectations, ultimately helping influence San Francisco’s inevitable downfall just a few years later.
As if it didn’t hurt to rehash the memories, here’s the list of prospects selected by the 49ers in 2012:
- Round 1: WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
- Round 2: RB LaMichael James, Oregon
- Round 4: OL Joe Looney, Wake Forest
- Round 5: LB Darius Fleming, Notre Dame
- Round 6: DB Trent Robinson, Michgan State
- Round 6: OL Jason Slowey, Western Oregon
- Round 7: EDGE Cam Johnson, Virginia
This class made next to zero contributions during the Niners’ 2012 campaign, although that was to be expected considering the nature of the roster at the time.
However, the complete lack of impact had a ripple effect in subsequent years, which helped propel San Francisco into the dark times of 2015 and 2016.
Let’s take a look at how this all came about and what happened to each of those draft picks.