How do you build a Super Bowl team? Through the draft of course. I wanted to investigate this old cliche, and found out, it holds true this year. The foundation of excellence for both the Ravens and 49ers was established by their college scouting departments and their teams built through the draft.
The following is a list of players taken by the teams and will be playing in Super Bowl XLVII. Both teams have drafted other good players over the years that have either moved on in free agency or retired, but these are the players that impacted these teams this year and could on Sunday. Italics denotes a Super Bowl starter.
The Ravens have 17 starters (including a punter and kicker) that they hand picked that will start on Sunday.
2012- LB Courtney Upshaw (2nd), OG Kelechi Osemele (2nd), RB Bernard Pierce (3rd), K Justin Tucker (undrafted free agent)
2011- CB Jimmy Smith (2nd), WR Torrey Smith (2nd), OT Jah Reid (3rd), WR Tandon Doss (4th), CB Chykie Brown (5th), DE Pernell McPhee (5th), QB Tyrod Taylor (6th), RB Anthony Allen (7th)
2010- DT Terrance Cody (2nd), TE Ed Dickson (3rd), TE Dennis Pitta (4th), WR David Reed (5th), DT Arthur Jones (5th)
2009- RT Michael Oher (1st), OLB Paul Kruger (2nd), CB Ladarius Webb (3rd), LB Dannell Ellerbe (undrafted free agent)
2008- QB Joe Flacco (1st), RB Ray Rice (2nd)
2007- OG Marshall Yanda (3rd)
2006- DT Haloti Ngata (1st), P Sam Koch (6th)
2005 and earlier- OLB Terrell Suggs (1st 2003), S Ed Reed (1st 2002), LB Ray Lewis (1996)
The 49ers have 16 starters (including a punter) that they drafted.
2012- WR AJ Jenkins (1st), RB LaMichael James (2nd), OG Joe Looney (4th), S Trenton Robinson (6th)
2011- LB Aldon Smith (1st), QB Colin Kaepernick (2nd), CB Chris Culliver (3rd), RB Kendall Hunter (4th), RB Bruce Miller (7th)
2010- RT Anthony Davis (1st), OG Mike Iupati (1st), LB Navorro Bowman (3rd), RB Anthony Dixon (5th), WR Kyle Williams (6th)
2009- WR Michael Crabtree (1st), DT Ricky Jean-Francois (7th)
2007- LB Patrick Willis (1st), OT Joe Staley (1st), DE Ray McDonald (3rd), S Dashon Goldson (4th), CB Tarell Brown (5th)
2006- TE Vernon Davis (1st), TE Delanie Walker (6th)
2005 and earlier- QB Alex Smith (1st 2005), RB Frank Gore (3rd 2005), NT Ike Sopoaga (4th 2004), P Andy Lee (6th 2004)
Free agency is very important, and can help put any team over the top, but the draft is almost always necessary to establish your base to build around, and history proves that to be the case for both Baltimore and San Francisco.