3 former 49ers NFL Draft picks whose careers fell apart too soon

Chris Borland #50 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Chris Borland #50 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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No. 1: Running Back Marcus Lattimore

2013 NFL Draft: Round 4, No. 131 Overall

Tank Carradine and Chris Borland at least had the opportunity to taste life on the field at the NFL level.

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Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore never did.

Lattimore’s collegiate career came to a crashing end with a gruesome knee injury towards the tail end of his junior year after he managed back-to-back seasons with over 1,000 all-purpose yards, nearly reaching that mark again in 2012. Lattimore suffered serious damage to his right knee, and this 2012 Bleacher Report article by Dr. David Geier pointed to a long, arduous recovery.

Nevertheless, Lattimore declared his eligibility for the next year’s NFL Draft where he found himself selected by the 49ers in Round 4. Like Carradine, San Francisco landing a player who was widely viewed as a first-round talent in the fourth round was considered a steal.

The situation seemed ideal: Lattimore could redshirt his rookie season, focusing on his rehab while the Niners squeaked out one more year from Frank Gore.

Sadly, Lattimore’s recovery was too daunting a challenge. He elected to retire in November of 2014.

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It’s another one of those “what could have been?” moments, especially considering just how talented and dynamic Lattimore was in college.