The San Francisco 49ers currently own the No. 15 overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Here is a history of this pick of the NFL Draft in the last 10 years:
2005: LB Derrick Johnson (Texas) – Kansas City Chiefs
Johnson has been a mainstay on the Chiefs’ defense for the last 10 years. After being a staple, he gained honors in 2011 by being an All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler. From 2010-2013, he had at least 100 tackles in each season. Most recently, he missed nearly the entire 2014 season with a torn Achiles which he suffered in Week 1.
2006: CB Tye Hill (Clemson) – St. Louis Rams
The Rams traded down four spots with the Denver Broncos to select Hill at No. 15 overall. Denver would go on to select Jay Cutler at No. 11 overall. An accomplished track star, Hill was selected to help the Rams’ secondary. He initially flourished in his rookie season where he had 50 tackles and three interceptions en route to being named part of the Pro Football Writer of America All-Rookie team in 2006. Hill was hampered by injuries in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons which led to his release. He had brief stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions shortly afterwards. Hill has not played an NFL snap since 2010.
2007: LB Lawrence Timmons (Florida St.) – Pittsburgh Steelers
Timmons became a starting LB in the middle of the 2008 season and full-time linebacker in 2009. He has been one of the best linebackers in recent times for the Steelers and has had four seasons of at least 100 combined tackles or more. In 2014, he earned 2nd team All-Pro honors. In essence, Timmons was the heir to veteran Larry Foote in 2009 and filled his position two years after being drafted.
2008: OT Branden Albert (Virginia) – Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs acquired a first-round pick and more picks when they traded away DE Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings. They would later trade up two spots to No. 15 overall with the Detroit Lions for Branden Albert. Albert was drafted as a LT even though he was originally a guard out of college. He initially struggled in his first two years, but improved in year three. Albert remained the starting LT with occasional snaps at guard from 2011-2013. In his contract year of 2013, he earned Pro Bowl honors and signed a large contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2014. He played well for Miami before his season was cut short with an injury last year.
2009: LB Brian Cushing (USC) – Houston Texans
Cushing was part of the great linebacker trio of Southern California which included Clay Matthews III and Rey Maualuga. He made instant impact in 2009 where he became the NFL Defensive Rookie of the year and was tied for the most tackles in the AFC. In 2011, he had a Pro Bowl season with 114 tackles and two interceptions. Recently, Cushing has battled injuries where he played a combined 12 games in 2012-2013 and had an average 2014 season.
2010: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida) – New York Giants
Pierre-Paul was considered to be a risky pick because of his lack of experience at he collegiate level as a Juco. He had all the raw intangibles to be an anchor on the defensive line. After showing promise in his rookie season, he became a star in 2011 with 16.5 sacks and was a first-team All-Pro after the Giatns lost Osi Umenyiora for the season. He had a down season in 2013 after coming off an injury, but had a good rebound year in 2014 with 12.5 sacks. This offseason, the Giants placed the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul.
2011: C Mike Pouncey (Florida) – Miami Dolphins
Pouncey was labeled as the top center in the 2011 NFL Draft and he didn’t disappoint. He become a two-time Pro Bowler while being a starting C for the Dolphins. Last year, he had a down year after recovering from a torn labrum. However, the Dolphins gave him a five-year extension this offseason.
2012: OLB Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) – Seattle Seahawks
Seattle traded down three spots with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 to No. 15 overall. After the Eagles selected Fletcher Cox at No. 12 overall, Seattle took Bruce Irvin shortly after. Irvin was one of the most risky picks according to NFL Draft experts in 2012. He was projected as a second-round pick and had character concerns, but that didn’t prevent Seattle from selecting him. Irvin has been a pass rushing specialist for the Seahawks as he is good at creating pressure. Last year, he was better as a run stopper, but has been a starting OLB since 2013.
2013: S Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) – New Orleans Saints
Vaccaro was viewed as the best safety in the 2013 draft class, in front of Eric Reid. He had a decent rookie year with 79 tackles and six passes defended while being named to the PFWA All-Rookie team. However, his 2014 season was a mess which led to him being benched in a limited role. Vaccaro has been inconsistent giving up big plays after making defensive errors.
2014: LB Ryan Shazier (Ohio St.) – Pittsburgh Steelers
Shazier appeared in only nine games in his rookie season as he battled a sprained MCL injury. For the 2014 season, Shazier had 36 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass defended. As a result, Timmons became an All-Pro while taking the LB spot of Shazier’s.
From a summary, six out of the seven players eligible for an extension have received a quality paycheck after their rookie contract. Only one person is out of the league and eight of them are still with the team they were drafted by.
Three of the No. 15 overall picks involved a drafted day trade while nine out of 10 have a good season on their track record. Six players would go on to become Pro Bowlers while three would have All-Pro honors. Three of them became part of the PFWA All-Rookie team while Cushing was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Only two of the 10 players drafted are offensive players while eight are involved with the defense. The 49ers could take someone at No. 15 overall, but it’s possible they trade up for a player they have been targeting.