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All Time San Francisco 49ers Roster - Career Value/Top 25 San Francisco 49ers of All Time

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You can get to every NFC Championship Game in 49er history here.

So, here's the new project - it's all time NFL rosters for each franchise.  I'm doing 47 man rosters, focusing on the total value for the career earned while playing for that particular franchise.  I'll do one for every current franchise; although it's only for this first one, the Niners, that I'll have either the top 25 overall list or the commentary discussing how I came about the choices.  I'd reply to any comments asking for a rationale for player X starting ahead of player Y, or player Z making the team over player A ("why you gotta cut player A?  What he ever do to you?").

Now, if you publish books on sports lists, we might have a different conversation.

Lists are current through the end of the 2013 season.

Here we go.



1. Jerry Rice WR 1985-00 16 seasons
2.Joe Montana QB 1980-92 13 seasons
3. Steve Young  QB 1987-99  13 seasons
4. Ronnie Lott CB/S 1981-90 10 seasons
5. Leo Nomellini DT 1950-63 14 seasons
6. Jimmy Johnson CB 1961-76 16 seasons
7. John Brodie QB 1957-73    17 seasons
8.Patrick Willis LB   2007-    7 seasons
9.Dave Wilcox LB 1964-74    11 seasons
10.Bryant Young DT 1994-07  14 seasons
11.Charlie Krueger DE 1959-73  14 seasons
12.Roger Craig RB 1983-90    8 seasons
13.Bob St. Clair T 1953-63      11 seasons
14.Randy Cross C/G 1976-88 13 seasons
15.Matt Hazeltine LB 1955-68 14 seasons
16.Keith Fahnhorst OT 1974-87 14 seasons
17.Joe Perry RB 1948-60, 63  14 seasons
18.Hugh McElhenny RB 1952-60 9 seasons
19.YA Tittle QB 1951-60          10 seasons
20.Terrell Owens WR 1996-03  8 seasons
21. Frank Gore RB 2005-    9 seasons
22. Justin Smith DE 2008 -   6 seasons
23.Billy Wilson WR 1951-60  10 seasons
24. Harris Barton T 1987-96 10 seasons
25 Gene Washington WR 1969-77 9 years




Let’s go ahead and fill out the rest of the all time 45 man Niners roster.

QB Joe Montana
                Steve Young
                John Brodie
RB Roger Craig
      Joe Perry
      Hugh McElhenny
              Frank Gore
WR Jerry Rice
       Terrell Owens
              Billy Wilson
              Gene Washington
TE Brent Jones
             Vernon Davis
C Jesse Sapolu
GRandy Cross
G Bruce Bosley
T Bob St. Clair
T Keith Fahnhorst
           OL Harris Barton
           OL Steve Wallace
          OL Len Rohde


DE Charlie Krueger
DT Leo Nomellini
DT Bryant Young
DE Justin Smith
              DL Michael Carter
              DL Cedric Hardman
              DL Tommy Hart
              DL Dana Stubblefield
OLB Dave Wilcox
MLB Patrick Willis
OLB Matt Hazeltine
             LB Keena Turner
             LB Charles Haley
             LB Ken Norton
             LB Willie Harper
             LB NaVorro Bowman
CB Jimmy Johnson
S Ronnie Lott
S Tim McDonald
CB Eric Wright
            DB Merton Hanks
            DB Dwight Hicks
            DB Don Griffin
            DB Abe Woodson
PK Joe Nedney
P Andy Lee

Notes:
QB – Obviously, with 3 QB in my top 5 Niners all time, there isn’t any question at all who should make the all time Niner roster, and no question about the order.  I still have Joe as the greatest QB ever, and Steve’s in the top 10. Tittle makes the top 20 all time Niners and Jeff Garcia would be in the all time top 50. 

RB – Perry’s the lead back over Roger, largely due to so many more seasons in SF.  McElhenny has about half of Roger’s carries as a Niner, so there’s a solid drop to the third back.  Willard’s extra time in SF allows him to hold off Hearst and Gore; if Gore can get/stay healthy he probably goes by him if there’s a full season in 2011. After 2012 I readjusted, Roger into the starting lineup.

WR – Jerry’s the greatest football player in the history of Earth.  Owens had better numbers across the board than everyone else; if you said Wilson should start opposite Jerry after making an adjustment for era, I don’t hate you for that.  Dwight’s a little more than Washington and JT, and no one else is in the conversation. After 2012 I readjusted, Washington in for Dwight.  

TE – No one’s close to Brent; Francis edges out Kwalick – VD has a good 2 years before he’s in that discussion. VD became the backup after 2011.  

OL – 4 of the starting linemen on the all time team make the top 25; Fred Quillan loses to Sapolu as starting center and then, along with Guy McIntrye, just loses out to Rohde for that last lineman spot on the roster.  St Clair’s our best ever linemen and an all time great; Cross and Fahnhorst form the backbone of the line.  I like bringing Barton off the bench to fill in both at tackle and guard, but if you started him inside instead of Bosley that would make sense.

DL – Nomellini’s an all time great, and BY joins him in the top 10 all time Niners.  You bring in Michael Carter to play the run and add Stubblefield for depth; that seems pretty noncontroversial.  Krueger’s an easy choice – you might pick Haley, who I have as a pass rush specialist backing up at outside linebacker, starting on the other side, but the linebacker who doesn’t make the team because Haley got his spot isn’t as good as whichever of Board/Hart/Hardman we’d have to leave off.  I’m starting Hardman, but your mileage may vary.

I don’t have another lineman I’d consider in that group. After 2012, Smith became a backup.  And after 2013, the starter.  

LB – Wilcox is our best ever linebacker pretty solidly; I often think of he and St Clair in the same vein.  Hazeltine just beats out Keena for the other outside starting spot, and with Turner and Haley rotating in I feel pretty good about that quartet of outside backers.  I originally had Norton holding off Willis for the starting job in the middle, but that just would have been until after 2011 when there wouldn’t be any kind of argument between the two.  If Willis stays healthy and stays in San Francisco, he’s headed for the all time top 10.  I guess Willie Harper would be my pick if we wanted to move Haley to starting defensive end and we had to cut Hart.  That’s a defensible choice.  And now that's what I've done, deciding that every team I do this for will have 7 linemen and 7 linebackers.  Everyone gets the same roster composition. After 2013, Willis is the best LB ever.  

DB – Johnson and Lott are hall of famers; Lott’s the greatest safety who ever lived.  Spots get tighter after that; you’d prefer Wright as a third corner ideally – but there’s just no one else with a good case to play opposite Johnson.  I love me some Tim McDonald – particularly with Hicks/Hanks as backup safeties.  You’ve got to have Woodson to return kicks – but you really don’t need Phillips as a third safety in place of another cover corner.  Okay, so I replaced Mel Phillips with Don Griffin, and that solves that problem. 

K/P – I originally had Davis doing both jobs to give me another roster spot, but that’s cheating, and Andy Lee’s worthy.     And now, I've taken Davis off entirely to add Joe Nedney.  

4 comments

DennisVee said...

Good picks... I'm just curious, but did Kermit Alexander come close to making one of the DB spots?? Also, I thought I might see Frank Nunley, Skip Vanderbundt or Mike Walter on the LB list. I guess Willie Harper was about as decent as any of those three -- pretty much a toss-up if you ask me..

Jim said...

Thanks for the notes, I'll probably take them in order of oldest post.

1. Alexander would have been next after the guys I mentioned in the comment, and if you like him more than Griffin I wouldn't object I was doing a thing with some teams where I would take a returner, and that's Woodson here.

2. Agree on the linebackers.

DennisVee said...

I just noticed this... You have the unheralded Tommy Hart making the combined Raiders/Niners squad, but not making the just 49ers team....

Jim said...

Yeah, I meant Hardman; I went back and forth with them on the original Niners post, and confused which one finished up in Oakland.

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