No. 3: Defensive End Tank Carradine
2013 NFL Draft: Round 2, No. 40 Overall
One player who generated plenty of hype among San Francisco fans in 2013 was former Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine, who was seen as an absolute steal when he fell into the second round in that year’s NFL Draft.
Carradine suffered a torn ACL late in his 2012 collegiate campaign, which was a sad end to what was otherwise an impressive 11-sack effort. He would have been a surefire first-round selection had the injury not happened.
At the time, Carradine falling to the 49ers in Round 2 was a coup. The Niners didn’t necessarily need Carradine to contribute right away, rather having him redshirt his rookie season and eventually take over for veteran defensive end Justin Smith.
The problem, though, was it never came close to happening.
When Carradine finally got his chance to take the field in 2014, then-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio called out the pass-rusher for making too many mental mistakes. Even though Carradine managed to hang around in San Francisco through the 2017 season, he was essentially used at that point as a situational rusher and primarily a run-stopping defenseman.
Those aren’t players you target in Round 1 of the draft.
Either way, Carradine’s collegiate injury hindered his early development, turning a promising elite pass-rusher into a merely OK player.