The 49ers have had the luxury of multiple draft picks in both the 2013 and 2014 NFL Draft. When there is a high quantity of picks, the team had to take players to help them for the long-term while only drafting a few to help immediately.
There have been several players stashed away on the non-football injury list and injured reserve in order to save them for the long term. While this method of drafting makes sense for a contending team, there are also too many questions on these players going forward.
In 2013, the 49ers took Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial and Marcus Lattimore to spend the season rehabbing from their respective injuries. Carradine and Lattimore both had torn ligaments while Dial had a toe injury. Lattimore spent the entire season recovering from the injury, but Carradine and Dial were both on the 53-man roster in the 2013 season with Carradine unable to play a snap last year. Dial was on the field for 18 snaps combined for only three games in the regular season.
With Dial and Carradine being on the 53-man roster at one point, they lost a year of their rookie contracts and have only three years remaining. With Lattimore being stored for the long-term, he still has four years left.
Other undrafted players from 2013 whom the 49ers signed include DL Lawrence Okoye and OL Luke Marquardt, where the latter is an Azusa Pacific alumnus and the former is a former discus thrower. Both guys have been rehabbing their injuries, but Marquardt appears to be out for 2014 with a foot injury. He cleared waivers after being waived/injured last week and will be under team control for the season while not counting against the 90-man roster limit.
In 2014, the 49ers took OL Brandon Thomas, CB Keith Reaser and FB Trey Millard who is expected to miss this season rehabbing from torn ACL injuries. Thomas has the potential to be a starting OT if healthy, but he tore his ACL when working out for the New Orleans Saints last spring.
Drafting players who are injured require patience. Like any pick, it's risk or reward on how these players pan out and develop. The risk was for the short term impact where the 49ers could have used someone to contribute in 2013 for their second-round pick which resulted in Carradine.
Time will only tell if these players will become fruitful for the team in the big picture. However, right now there will be rehabbing and a waiting process for each player who is stashed for the future.