New Niners have numbers to live up to
WR Ron Johnson will switch to No. 88 with 49ers
WR Ron Johnson will switch to No. 88 with 49ers
NinersDigest.com publisher
Posted May 10, 2011


What’s in a number? When you play football for the 49ers, there’s usually a history behind the digits you’re wearing on your uniform. Nine of the team’s recent draft picks have selected the numbers they will be wearing this year as 49ers, and here’s a look at the top players who wore the number before them that the new rookies will be trying to live up to.

Only first-round draft pick Aldon Smith has yet to select his uniform number, but the incoming defensive-lineman-turned-outside-linebacker said recently that he’ll select a number “somewhere between the 50s and 90s.”

The nine picks behind Smith all have chosen their numbers. Here’s the list of those nine – in the order of the number they will wear – along with the best players in 49ers history to wear the number before them:

7

Rookie who will wear number: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the team’s second-round draft pick.
The best before him: Kicker Wade Richey, who donned No. 7 between 1998-2000 and led the team in scoring each of those seasons to get the nod over the two backup quarterbacks listed below.
Other notable No. 7s: QB Guy Benjamin (1981-1983), QB Ken Dorsey (2003-2005)

29

Rookie who will wear number: Cornerback Chris Culliver, the team’s third-round draft pick.
The best before him: This number has been worn by a handful of quality cornerbacks, including Don Griffin, who from 1986-1993 was a long-time starter and key performer during the heyday of the 49ers’ dynasty.
Other notable No. 29s: CB Ahmad Plummer (2000-2005)

32

Rookie who will wear number: Running back Kendall Hunter, the team’s fourth-round draft pick.
The best before him: Flamboyant running back Ricky Watters (1991-1994) was a star among stars on some truly great offensive teams, and he’d be the first one to tell you so.
Other notable No. 32s: DB Mel Phillips (1966-1976), RB O.J. Simpson (1978-1979), RB Kevan Barlow (2001-2005)

41

Rookie who will wear number: Cornerback Curtis Holcomb, the seventh-round draft pick who was the last of the team’s 10 selections.
The best before him: Terry Kirby (1996-1998) contributed to three playoff teams with his play in the backfield and returning kicks, including a kickoff return for a touchdown in the 1997 NFC Championship game.
Other notable No. 41s: DB Dave Whitmore (1991-1992)

43

Rookie who will wear number: Safety Colin Jones, the second of the team’s two sixth-round draft picks.
The best before him: DB/KR Dana McLemore (1982-1987), who held down return duties for the team as one of the best in the league for several seasons while also contributing in the defensive secondary.
Other notable No. 43s: RB Maurice Hicks (2004-2007), DB Windland Hall (1972-1975), RB Marc Logan (1992-1994)

49

Rookie who will wear number: Fullback Bruce Miller, the first of the team’s three seventh-round draft picks.
The best before him: It’s good to be No. 49 for the 49ers, as it was for rugged Jeff Fuller (1984-1989), who was on his way to stardom as a big, hard-hitting safety before a serious injury prematurely ended his career and left him maimed for life.
Other notable No. 49s: RB Earl Cooper (1980-1982)

67

Rookie who will wear number: Guard Daniel Kilgore, the team’s fifth-round draft pick.
The best before him: Sturdy Pete Kugler (1982-1983, 1986-1990) was a rock along the defensive line who played a significant part in making the 49ers the NFL’s team of the decades for the 1980s.
Other notable No. 67s: G Roy Foster (1991-1993), G-C Chris Dalman (1994-2000)

78

Rookie who will wear number: Guard Michael Person, the second of the team’s two seventh-round draft picks.
The best before him: OT Scott Gragg (2000-2004), who was as solid as they come at right tackle and was a key factor in San Francisco’s quick return to prominence in the early 2000s.
Other notable No. 78s: DL Pierce Holt (1989-1992), DL Archie Reese (1978-1981)

88

Rookie who will wear number: Wide receiver Ronald Johnson, the first of the team’s two sixth-round draft picks.
The best before him: Wide receiver Freddie Solomon (1978-1985) had 310 career receptions as a 49er and was San Francisco’s home-run threat at the beginning of the team’s dynasty before a guy named Jerry Rice came along to take his place.
Other notable No. 88s: TE/WR Dick Witcher (1966-1973), WR Isaac Bruce (2008-2009)



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