San Francisco 49ers

20 worst 49ers in my lifetime – Part 2

Apparently I touched a nerve. Comments like crazy on Part 1 of this list, telling me which awful 49ers I should have in the top 10. Guys, I already had my own top 10 (bottom 10?), but I was at work and couldn’t write the whole post at once. What do you mean, “BASG is a disappointment”? Did I get drafted No. 1 overall or something? Why are your expectations so high?

(Here’s Part 1, which includes #’s 11-20)

Great, now I’m making excuses. You can call me the blogging equivalent of Alex Smith. That’s the thing; you start analyzing all the wastes of money and pads the 49ers have suffered through in our lives and next thing you know it’s easy to blame everything on someone else. Yeah, I could shave my questionable-looking 5 o’clock shadow right now, but razors are too expensive. I could be writing a great book about the Giants’ recent World Series win, but people keep expecting me to work, socialize, and blog. God, my life would be so awesome if Terry Donahue didn’t keep screwing it up. HEY BUDDY, YOU WORK IN THE BAY AREA NOW, NOT MALIBU!

Sorry, temporary insanity is pretty much expected when you focus on your favorite football team’s biggest gaffes in the last 25-30 years. Doesn’t matter what team you care about or how many Super Bowls they’ve won, everyone’s favorite team choked away 10 championships with bad player personnel moves. What, you were expecting perspective here? It’s a “worst of” list. And it probably should have started about 150 words ago…

10. Todd Kelly: The 49ers might not have needed to spend all that money in 1994 to finally get past the Cowboys if they didn’t waste their 1993 1st round pick (27th overall) on this joker. 22 tackles in two seasons, before becoming a Bengal and leaving the NFL a year later. Seifert was cool and all, but for a defensive braniac he sure was crappy at drafting defensive players. Don’t believe me? Check out this next guy….

9. Dana Hall: Yes! We got Ronnie Lott’s replacement, and all his fingers are intact! Um, no. The worst part about this not-very-athletic safety — who wasn’t really keen on hitting or covering — was that Seifert was so stubborn about keeping him in after drafting him 18th overall in 1992. Can you believe Hall actually started 4 games in ’94 before Eddie D. and Carmen couldn’t handle it anymore and signed Deion?

8. Mike Rumph: Nobody likes cornerback toast (because it  tastes like this), and Mike Rumph was that guy for a loooonnngggg time. Here’s the thing with Rumph. When you draft someone from “The U,” especially on defense, you’re expecting a beast. And Niners fans saw the back of Rumph’s jersey more often than a JC Penney sales associate during a 2005 clearance sale. (ZING!) To be fair, I think Rumph was actually a hitter who was forced to play cornerback and should have been converted to safety after his rookie season. Still, he went 27th overall, and looked slow his whole career. I knew a 6’2″ corner was too good to be true.

7. Kwame Harris: Even though his first name became an area-wide joke for almost a decade (partly because he pronounces it in a phonetically-correct way), it’s hard to move him further up on this list considering the lack of production from the rest of these guys. But Kwame really was terrible. I dare any 49er fan to come up with an o-lineman who had a worse false start percentage than Kwame. (Since that stat doesn’t exist online I’m feeling pretty safe with that amazing proclamation.) But most of all, he represented the 49ers’ jarring lack of knowledge when it came to evaluating college players. This was Terry Donahue’s Dana Hall.

6. Kentwan Balmer: Whenever a 1st-round pick is traded to a team in the same division for a 6th-rounder, it’s not a good sign.

5. Rashaun Woods: In the last game of the 2004 season, he caught 3 passes for 76 yards. He never played in another NFL game, because he was soft. It was like everyone around here just figured he was being polished and readied for some great breakout after a productive day against San Diego in the last game of the 2005 season, and then he tore thumb ligaments. OK. But there was obviously something wrong with either his toughness or work ethic (Woods also suffered numerous leg injuries as a Niner). After spending 2005 on IR, he was traded to the Chargers a year later for Sammy Davis (another 1st-round bust) and never played in the NFL again.

4. Reggie McGrew: Yet another regrettable late 1st-round draft pick (not hard to tell why the team hasn’t made an NFC Championship Game since 1997). McGrew did accumulate 1 sack during his illustrious 24-game NFL career after getting drafted 24th overall in 1999. The only good thing about these terrible high draft picks on the defensive end is how much they’ve made all 49ers fans appreciate Patrick Willis. Niners fans’ love of Willis is probably one of the most underrated fan-player slobber fests in the NFL, and it’s for good reason. Willis is awesome. You know what, I think the fan part of me is rejecting all this negativity before I make it to the end.

3. Brandon Jones: AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! I’m starting to lose it, now. While he doesn’t hit the No. 1 spot on this list, the wound from his “acquisition” is still the worst open wound. He averaged 345 yards and 2 TD a year over 4 seasons with the Tennessee Titans, who’ve had exactly one good receiver since bolting Houston: Derrick Mason. Jones couldn’t crack the starting lineup for a team who would have done backflips if they drafted Brandon Lloyd, and the 49ers decide to give Jones $5.4 million guaranteed to become a returner/deep threat. He returned 9 punts for a total of 26 yards and caught one pass for 18 yards in his one season with the 49ers, who released him. Jones signed with the Seahawks (since new Seahawks front office emplyee Scot McCloughan seemed intent on proving his busts weren’t actually as bad as Terry Donahue’s), and hasn’t played this season.

2. Lawrence Phillips: He dragged his girlfriend down the stairs while in college, but all kinds of NFL teams were falling all over themselves to give this psycho a chance. Including Bill Walsh, which was strangely unsettling to 49ers fans at the time. The 49ers had the occasional player who’d make trouble from time to time, but a woman-beater? Then Phillips showed that he’s almost as bad a pass blocker as he is a human being, allowing Aeneas Williams to make Steve Young’s last play in the NFL one which left him unconscious. Phillips probably didn’t worry too much about it though, since he put that game away with a 68-yard touchdown run to make his season ending totals (30 rushes, 144 yards) look somewhat respectable. It would be his last NFL season, as he moved onto the CFL where he played decently but eventually found his way out after constantly fighting with coaches. As for the rest of his life, this sentence from Wikipedia says it all:

On December 18, 2009, Phillips was sentenced to more than 31 years in prison for attacking his girlfriend and driving his car into three teens.

1. Jim Druckenmiller: This was the beginning of the end. It was 1997, and Steve Young’s eventual replacement was needed to keep the 49ers near the top of the NFL. Jake Plummer was available, but instead of the heady, accurate passer with a little mobility but perhaps not prototype size (at the time, most scouting reports were comparing Plummer to Joe Montana), the 49ers went with Druckenmiller, who was kind of like Ben Roethlisberger without the talent. Why did the 49ers go with Druckenmiller (whose last name was oftentimes pronounced “DRUNKenmiller”)? Because like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, Druckenmiller sent a highlight tape to the 49ers which included “one of him pulling a station wagon around the Virginia Tech campus.” No word on if he threw a football over any mountains.

Druck played in four games in his rookie year and finished with a quarterback rating of 29.2. He never made it back on an NFL field, although in 2001 he was busy, playing a backup role on the L.A. Avengers of the Arena League (completing 5-of-13 passes for 82 yards for a team which also had Todd Marinovich) and starting for the Memphis Maniax of the XFL.

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