Draft Recollections: The 2012 Draft

In April of 2012, I was lucky enough to attend the 7th round of the NFL  Draft, during a week’s holiday in NYC. With the 237th pick, the 49ers selected Cam Johnson, an intriguing OLB/DE prospect out of Virginia. 

That wasn’t a standout pick of the draft, although it certainly wasn’t the worst pick either (I’m looking at you AJ Jenkins).

In fact the most recognisable name from the 2012 draft was LaMichael James, chosen at the end of the second round. Mostly a solid Special Teams contributor, James spent his first three years at SF followed by a stint with the Dolphins.


Fourth round pick Joe Looney was arguably the best value pick the Niners made in this draft which can quite happily fade into the mists of obscurity. With the forehead slapping, head shaking gift of hindsight, which players did Trent Baalke miss out on?

WR Alshon Jeffrey might not arguably have been worth a 1st rd pick, but honestly, given the choice of Jenkins vs Jeffrey, who would you choose? That’s what I thought.

Heck, Marvin Jones was taken at the end of the fifth round.

LBs Mychal Kendricks, Lavonte David & Bobby Wagner, were all gone by the time the call to LaMichael James was made, but they comfortably have late first round value.

CB Josh Norman was taken early in the fifth round.


Jim Harbaugh was very comfortable with his starting QB, and was excited about the potential of the athletic backup out of Nevada, drafted the year before. So there was no need to look at a certain R Wilson from a whole pack of badgers. But why couldn’t some AFC team have drafted him…

Ok, so the 2012 draft was not exactly loaded with viable NFL prospects, and the list of productive players with longevity isn’t much longer than my list here. 49ers fans will always, however, find it hard to forgive the worst first round selection since the other first round wideout, Rashaun Woods. 

Thankfully, Lynch, Shanahan and Marathe have been highly effective in identifying talent through the draft process, and the embarrassment suffered by the faithful in 2012 is a distant echo of a faded memory.

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