The San Francisco 49ers have enjoyed some top-tier selections in the NFL Draft, yet a few never reached desired expectation levels. Here are five who never came close to lofty expectations.
Each year, the San Francisco 49ers have looked to land cornerstone pieces in the NFL Draft. This is true for every NFL squad, in reality, yet there’s always the risk of landing someone who just doesn’t quite cut it.
In a world of redrafts, what could have beens, 20-20 hindsights and second-guessing, the Niners aren’t alone in having made some awful draft decisions. Case in point, the 2017 NFL Draft wasn’t overly kind to first-year general manager John Lynch. Not after he selected the former Stanford defensive end, Solomon Thomas, with the No. 3 overall pick, then grabbed former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster at No. 31 overall after trading back into Round 1.
But Thomas and Foster are hard to put on a list of 49ers players who never lived up to their hype. For starters, Thomas was seen as a “safe” player in the draft, not necessarily as an overhyped prospects.
Foster, meanwhile, was hyped coming out of college and was frequently viewed as a top-10 player. Yet a notable injury history and no shortage of red flags meant he was also a big risk.
Lynch and the Niners took that risk. Multiple arrests and legal run-ins later, Foster was off the team in November of 2018.
Still, there are other players who fall onto this list of those who never reached anything close to their expectation levels. Whether it be due to the player simply peaking in college, not transitioning well enough to the 49ers’ own situation or whatever, these five never came close to living up to the hype in San Francisco.