The Mike Nolan era in San Francisco produced more heartache than the 49ers would care to revisit, but the long-term legacy isn't so bad.
Eleven draft choices, including eight current starters and five Pro Bowl selections, remain on the 49ers' roster from the Nolan era.
The other NFC West teams have a combined eight of their own draft choices from the same 2005-2008 window. That includes six starters and no Pro Bowl selections for the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams.
Improved coaching and ownership have helped San Francisco get more from its talent. The current personnel department has also fared well in continuing to build, adding high-impact draft choices such as Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman.
Overall, the 49ers have a division-high 38 of their own draft choices. The Seahawks are closest behind with 34, including 26 drafted since Pete Carroll became head coach in 2010.
In St. Louis, new coach Jeff Fisher inherits a young franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford, but he has only one Rams draft choice from 2005-2008: defensive end Chris Long. Consider this one more way to define first-year expectations for St. Louis relative to the expectations when Jim Harbaugh took over in San Francisco. Fisher inherits so much less.
Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Tarell Brown, Delanie Walker, Patrick Willis, Larry Grant, Joe Staley, Vernon Davis, Ray McDonald, Parys Haralson and Dashon Goldson remain with the 49ers from their 2005-2008 drafts. Gore, Willis, Staley, Davis and Goldson have achieved Pro Bowl status. Those five and Alex Smith, Brown, McDonald, Haralson and (sometimes) Walker started for the 49ers last season.
The chart breaks down NFC West draft choices by how many remain with their original teams and by the head coaches who welcomed those players into the league.
The 49ers have two players from the Dennis Erickson era (punter Andy Lee, defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga) and one from the Steve Mariucci era (snapper Brian Jennings). They are the only team in the division with a draft choice remaining from five head coaches ago (Jennings). The Rams have one player, Steven Jackson, remaining from the Mike Martz era (four coaches ago).
Update: I reduced by one the total for the Rams under Fisher to reflect the fact that Cortland Finnegan was a Fisher draft choice in Tennessee, not St. Louis.