It may be years before we know whether Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are the Pro Bowl linemen the 49ers hope they are, or whether S Taylor Mays and LB NaVorro Bowman can be long-term NFL starters.
By one measure, though, the 49ers’ 2010 draft is shaping up to be a success: It’s looking highly likely that all eight picks will make the 53-man roster.
Davis, Iupati, Mays and Bowman are practically guaranteed spots among the 53. Sixth- and seventh-round picks don’t receive such guarantees. But RB Anthony Dixon has shown loads of potential during the preseason; Nate Byham has been getting heavy reps as a tight end and H-back; Kyle Williams was so far ahead of the other punt returners that his sprained big toe might not be enough to deny him; and Phillip Adams has been one of the summer’s pleasant surprises, both as a cornerback and as a return man.
Give the 49ers’ front office credit. Getting your entire slate of draftees onto a regular-season roster is never a given, but this team did it five times between 2000 and 2007.
The least likely year may have been 2001, when the Niners had three sixth-round picks and two seventh-rounders. All of them – WR Cedrick Wilson, CB Rashad Holman, DE Menson Holloway, LB Alex Lincoln and TE Eric Johnson – played in the regular season, and Wilson and Johnson were pretty good.
The 2006 club did it with three sixth-rounders (TE Delanie Walker, S Marcus Hudson and DE Melvin Oliver), and a seventh-rounder (Vickiel Vaughn). The 2010 model is trying to equal that tally.
Again, depth isn’t the only way to gauge a draft class. You need some star power near the top to really be considered a success. But if Trent Baalke can claim eight legitimate NFL players in his first go-round as personnel director, it will be quite a feather in his cap.