How 49ers can make NFL draft history with win in NFC Championship Game

Dalton Johnson

The last time the 49ers selected a skill-position player on offense in the first round of the NFL draft, he totaled a whopping zero yards for San Francisco. 

A.J. Jenkins is a name to forget for 49ers fans. San Francisco selected the wide receiver No. 30 overall in the 2012 draft. He lasted one season with the 49ers and didn't record a single stat. 

Jenkins then played two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he had 17 receptions for 223 yards. Since drafting Jenkins, the 49ers went five straight years going defensive in the first round of the draft, before taking Mike McGlinchey in 2018. They grabbed defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick last year. 

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With defense-heavy drafts in the first round, the 49ers can make history on Sunday if they beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, San Francisco would become the seventh team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl without a pass, rush or catch from a former first-round pick. 

But the stat comes with a twist. Not to be that guy, but Bosa did record a catch on defense this season when he intercepted Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen in Week 8 during the 49ers' 51-13 blowout win. The rookie even ran 46 yards after the INT.

Josh Dubow of the Associated Press also notes offensive tackle Joe Staley, who the 49ers selected with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 draft, did record a catch against the Denver Broncos in 2008. But Staley lost five yards. 

All jokes aside, the 49ers will have multiple former first-round picks contributing Sunday at Levi's Stadium. If San Francisco wants to go to Miami for Super Bowl LIV, they will need big days out of Bosa, Staley, McGlinchey, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward. 

[RELATED: Why Jimmy G compared self to Rodgers before 2014 draft]

The 49ers also will get plenty of big plays from recent draft picks that came after the first round, like George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo (drafted by the New England Patriots), Deebo Samuel, Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner and many more.

While the stat might appear to be a detriment to past 49ers drafts, that's far from the truth. It first shows their strategy of building the defense, which has paid dividends this season, and their ability to find production from players later in the draft or those who were undrafted like running backs Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert.

From top to bottom, the 49ers will need a big day from their former draft picks.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of "49ers Central" all week (6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for "49ers Pregame Live," with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.

How 49ers can make NFL draft history with win in NFC Championship Game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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