In recent years, figuring out which draft prospects suffered ACL tears or other major injuries has been an excellent way of predicting who would end up on the 49ers' roster. In 2014, for example, the team took three such players while in college -- guard Brandon Thomas, cornerback Keith Reaser and fullback Trey Millard -- as well as a defensive lineman, Kaleb Ramsey, who had so many injuries at Boston College that he played six seasons there.
In 2013, they selected defensive end Tank Carradine and running back Marcus Lattimore, both of whom had season-ending knee injuries the year before. Lattimore's injury turned out to be career-ending. The year before that, they took guard Joe Looney (Lisfranc fracture).
With that in mind, a look at this year’s all-ACL team:
Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Collins is a legitimate possibility to the 49ers in the first round. He has the length they like and he played well against top competition, including Alabama's Amari Cooper. Doctors detected a previously unknown foot injury at the combine, however. While Collins is expected to be cleared to practice next month, the scenario of never-before-diagnosed foot injury should be familiar to 49ers fans. Michael Crabtree and Jimmie Ward each had foot injuries detected at the combine. Neither was considered serious but the injuries turned out to be recurring in both cases.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
He was considered one of the top cornerbacks in the nation before suffering an ACL tear in December. At 5-9, Ekpre-Olomu doesn't have the height GM Trent Baalke prefers at the position. But who knows -- if he's enough of a bargain, the 49ers could strike.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
That he suffered an ACL injury on Nov. 15 barely has dampened Gurley's draft stock. Most believe he's the best runner in the draft and no one expects him to get out of the first round. Could the 49ers take him after using a second-round pick on Carlos Hyde a year ago?
Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
The athletic, 6-5, 307-pound Ogbuehi suffered an ACL injury in the Aggies' bowl game and likely will have to sit out at least the first half of the NFL season. Before the injury, he was considered one of the top tackles in the country, and he has experience at guard and both tackle spots.
DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech
The big-bodied wide receiver suffered an ACL tear on Nov. 29 during his team's overtime upset of Georgia. He's got good size and huge, 11-inch hands and could be an option if the 49ers don't tap a receiver early in the draft.
Zack Wagenmann, OLB, Montana
He is an undersized pass rusher who his Montana’s all-time sack leader with 37 1/2. Wagenmann broke his foot during a pre-draft workout with an NFL team and is unlikely to take part in any spring practices.
Cam Worthy, WR, East Carolina
He has excellent size at 6-3, 220 pounds and the long arms -- 33 1/2 -inches -- that Baalke covets. But he suffered a foot injury (Jones fracture) in January and was not allowed to take part in the combine
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