Left tackle Joe Staley was unaware of Heitmann’s surgery, but had been in touch with his teammate earlier this offseason. Staley said he knew Heitmann, 31, a nine-year veteran, was weighing his career options because “his neck was messed up.”
Pro Football Reference lists the top players ever taken at every spot in this year’s draft (scroll to the right) and star-studded 49ers have been selected at No. 7, No. 45 and No. 76.
The Niners, for all their Raushan Woods-esque bombs, have actually drafted fairly well long after the commissioner has left the stage at Radio City Music Hall. In fact, they’ve drafted enough late-round players — ranging from functional to very good — to inspire “The 49ers’ Top-10 Sixth- or Seventh-Round Picks Since 2000” series.