49ers NFL Draft history at pick No. 31 overall (it's not pretty)

The Niners have only picked twice at No. 31 overall over their franchise history, and neither player came close to living up to expectations.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56)
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft will mark only the third time the San Francisco 49ers have held the No. 31 overall pick in their storied history dating back to 1946.

With the current 32-team format, the 31st pick is typically awarded to the loser of the Super Bowl the previous season, and the Niners have lost three such games in their franchise history. However, in 2013 after losing the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco traded up from No. 31 overall to grab former LSU safety Eric Reid at No. 18 overall.

Then, during the 2020 draft, the 49ers traded with the Minnesota Vikings to move up from 31st overall to No. 25 overall, which landed the Niners wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State.

San Francisco could hold fast at No. 31 overall after losing the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in four seasons.

But, given the 49ers' brief history of picking at that spot, it might be wiser to trade out of it.

Let's take a look at the two selections the Niners have made at No. 31 overall.

49ers draft history at No. 32 overall

San Francisco has made only two selections at this spot in the NFL Draft, including going back to the eras long before there were 32 teams in the league.

Neither player selected here delivered the desired returns.

1. LB Reuben Foster, Alabama (2017)

After selecting defensive end Solomon Thomas at No. 3 overall in 2017, the 49ers traded back into Round 1 and grabbed Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

Despite a checkered past, Foster flashed signs of greatness his rookie season but subsequently found himself in legal trouble the following offseason and into 2018.

Stemming from another off-field issue in November of 2018, the Niners released him after appearing in just six games that season.

Foster briefly signed on with the Washington Football Team in 2020 but hasn't appeared in an NFL game since his brief time in San Francisco.

2. WR Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma (2004)

In the early 2000s, the 49ers were seeking a replacement for their top wide receiver, Terrell Owens, who left the team that offseason in controversial fashion.

The pick? Former Oklahoma wide receiver Rashaun Woods.

Woods had a tremendous four-year collegiate career with 4,414 receiving yards on 293 receptions and 42 touchdowns, setting multiple Big 12 records in the process.

Yet Woods was an ultimate flop with the Niners, catching just seven passes for 160 yards and a touchdown after being drafted in 2004.

After spending all of 2005 on injured reserve, San Francisco traded Woods to the San Diego Chargers, but he never played a game there, nor did he ever see an NFL game again.

Related story: 49ers' 20 worst NFL Draft picks of all time

If there's a positive for the 49ers, it's that they'll have a tough time matching just how bad their previous picks at No. 31 overall have been.

Something, anything would ultimately be better than what they received from both Foster and Woods.

Of course, should the Niners trade out of that spot, it'd be another discussion altogether.

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