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49ers 2012 draft class contributed little compared to the Seahawks

LaMichael James
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 49ers remain a contending team as long as Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh are in charge. However, it does remain that the team's 2012 draft class is mostly a dismal one in 49ers history.

In the long term, the 49ers will not have problems re-tooling the roster, but there were several missed opportunities that other teams, including the Seahawks, took advantage of. San Francisco could have used more depth or contributors in the last two seasons, but failed to find anyone.

Here is a rundown of the 2012 NFL Draft for both the 49ers and Seahawks:


Seahawks select: OLB Bruce Irvin (15th overall)

49ers select: WR A.J. Jenkins (30th overall)

Irvin was one of the most scrutinized first-round picks in the 2012 draft as most experts projected him to go in the second round. He is currently a starting OLB who is mostly known for his pass rushing abilities. Irvin led all linebackers with 15 QB hurries in the 2013 season even after he served a four-game suspension to start the year.

Jenkins has been one of the most dreaded draft picks in recent 49ers history as he failed to record a reception in the 2012 season. He was inactive for the 13 out of 16 regular season games and only began playing when Kyle Williams went down with a torn ACL. Jenkins was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for WR Jon Baldwin, which was a swap for disappointing first-round wide receivers. Baldwin only registered three receptions for 28 yards and remained inactive throughout the second half of the season. The biggest upside for the 49ers is how Baldwin's guaranteed money is up as the 2013 season ended while Jenkins still has one more year with the Chiefs. This ended up being a cap saving move for the 2014 season.

In hindsight, Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery would have been the best receiver to take at that spot.



Seahawks select: MLB Bobby Wagner (47th overall)

49ers select: RB LaMichael James (61st overall)

Wagner became the starting MLB for the Seahawks and had a tremendous rookie season as he led the team with 111 tackles in 2012. In 2013, he battled an injury and didn't repeat his first year, but ended being the heart of the defense as a run-stopper.

Like Jenkins, James was an inactive player through the first three months of 2012, where he didn't begin playing until Kendall Hunter went down with a torn Achilles. He contributed in his rookie season mostly on special teams, where he is remembered for a 62-yard kickoff return against the New England Patriots in Week 15 which set up the eventual game-winning touchdown. James had his best career game against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game where he had 34 yards on five carries, including his only NFL touchdown. There was also a crucial fumble he had in the Super Bowl which led to a touchdown the other way.

He was seldom used on offense in his sophomore year where he played mostly on kickoff and punt returns after the team cut Kyle Williams. With Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore to compete with on the depth chart, it won't be easy for James to get playing time entering his third year.



Seahawks select: QB Russell Wilson (75th overall)

49ers select: No one. (49ers traded down five spots from 92nd overall to 97th overall into the fourth round and picked up a fifth-round pick in 2013 which resulted in Quinton Dial)

Seattle took a quarterback who many underestimated and felt he wouldn't be a good fit. The Seahawks already paid a hefty contract to Matt Flynn in the offseason, but Wilson beat out his competition and became the starter. His rookie season didn't disappoint as he became one of the top quarterbacks of his draft class and received votes for offensive rookie of the year. He was able to repeat his success and even improved on last year's numbers in 2013.

The 49ers traded down multiple times in the fourth-round and picked up draft picks, but the trade with the Colts might seem regrettable in hindsight. Indianapolis drafted WR T.Y. Hilton with the pick they traded up for as he has become a great weapon for the Colts offense.



Seahawks select: RB Robert Turbin (106th overall), DT Jaye Howard (114th overall)

49ers select: OL Joe Looney (117th overall)

The 49ers traded down multiple times before trading back up to take Looney. He was inactive for his entire rookie season. Most notably, he was remembered for injuring Vikings DL Kevin Williams in a preseason game last August. It wasn't until Week 12 against the Washington Redskins where he made his debut in garbage time, taking a few snaps.

The only game where he received a significant amount of playing time was the following week against the St. Louis Rams when LT Joe Staley left the game and Mike Iupati was already out. Looney took over at RG while Adam Snyder was at LG and Alex Boone switched to LT. He ended up being promising in the only game where he received more than seven snaps. With Jonathan Goodwin most likely to not return, Looney should contribute on the interior part of the offensive line heading into 2014.

Seattle ended up using Turbin as a part-time punt and kickoff returner besides being the backup RB behind Marshawn Lynch. Turbin beat out his competition in 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael and kept his spot on the roster the following year. In 16 regular season games from 2013, he had 277 yards on 77 carries.

Jaye Howard played in only two games for 2012 and was part of the final roster cuts when Seattle trimmed their roster to 53 players. He is currently on the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played in three games.



Seahawks select: LB Korey Toomer (154th overall)

49ers select: OLB Darius Fleming (165th overall)

Toomer was part of the final roster cuts in his rookie year and became a member of the Seahawks practice squad for 2012. He suffered a hip injury before the 2013 season started and was placed on the injured reserve.

Darius Fleming tore his ACL during OTAs in 2012 and did it again in training camp for the 2013 season. Fleming has yet to play a snap in the NFL as he has been on the injured reserve for the last two seasons.



Seahawks select: CB Jeremy Lane (172nd overall), S Winston Guy (181st overall)

49ers select: S Trenton Robinson (180th overall), OL Jason Slowey (199th overall)

Lane has been a special teams player for the Seahawks while also getting playing time at cornerback. He became the team's nickel CB when Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond were serving suspensions in 2013, playing adequately in their place. Guy was part of the final roster cuts in 2013 and is a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars after being claimed off waivers.

Trenton Robinson only spent a handful of snaps on special teams in the first half of the season before being inactive for the rest of the year. He was part of the final roster cuts in 2013, where he was later signed to the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. Robinson is currently on the Washington Redskins.

Slowey was one of the first players cut in 2012 when the roster was trimmed from 90 to 75 players. He spent time on the Oakland Raiders practice squad in 2012 and is currently in the Arena Football League with the Portland Thunder.



Seahawks select: DE J.R. Sweezy (225th overall), DE Greg Scruggs (232nd overall)

49ers select: OLB Cam Johnson (237th overall)

Sweezy converted to being an offensive lineman where he was named the starting guard in 2013. He has been the starter in 15 of the 16 regular season game for Seattle where he has specialized in pass protection. Scruggs appeared in 11 games for the 2012 season before he tore his ACL in May 2013 and missed his entire sophomore season.

Cam Johnson was part of the final roster cuts in 2012 before the 49ers signed him to their practice squad. He was promoted to the 53-man roster in December 2012 where he appeared in two games. After having a phenomenal preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Johnson made the 53-man roster in 2013 before he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2015 seventh-round draft pick.



Seahawks: WR Jermaine Kearse

49ers: TE Garrett Celek, DL Tony Jerod-Eddie

Kearse has been an underrated weapon for the Seattle Seahawks after playing part-time in 2012. In his sophomore season, he had 346 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He had one key touchdown reception against the 49ers in the 2013 NFC Championship game on fourth down and added another against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

Celek has been the 49ers third tight end as he is mostly a special teams contributor. The 49ers rarely used him in the passing game and he is usually an extra blocker for the full-house backfield formation.

Jerod-Eddie was signed to the practice squad in 2012 before he was promoted to the active roster during the postseason. In 2013, he earned a spot on the 53-man roster and became a rotational defensive lineman. He started two games in Ray McDonald's place and even had an interception this year. For a homegrown player who worked his way up, Jerod-Eddie has been the best player on the 49ers from the rookie class of 2012.


In total, the Seahawks have found four starters and three contributors in the 2012 rookie class, which includes Kearse. The 49ers on the other hand have only three players remaining on the roster from the 2012 draft class with two of them being undrafted free agents. San Francisco has not found a starter among the rookies in 2012.

The future for both teams will be bright as it will come down to a chess match of who finds better players between Trent Baalke and Seahawks general manager John Schneider. Seattle won the 2012 class battle, which helped lead them to a deeper roster than San Francisco.

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