(The 49ers did not have a first round pick in the 1979 NFL Draft)
With the 13th pick in the 1980 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected RB Earl Cooper, out of Rice University. Cooper would make a splash right out of the gates; running the ball 171 times for 720 yards and 5 touchdowns, and also receiving 83 passes for 567 yards and 4 touchdowns in his rookie season. His 83 receptions were good enough for second in the league, only Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow caught more passes that season. In 1982, Cooper had a similar impact on the offense. He was a key member of the drive that is simply known today as “The Catch”. Cooper’s impact in the rushing game would diminish in the following seasons, but he would have an increased role in the receiving game. He logged 1, 152 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns, and 1,908 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his 6 seasons with the 49ers. He was a member of two Super Bowl winning teams in his time with San Francisco. Cooper would play with the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1986 season. He is currently a teacher and coach in Texas.