Joe Staley, 5 others who deserved a Super Bowl ring with 49ers

Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

No. 4: Quarterback Alex Smith after his ugly start with the 49ers

Few NFL players have gone through as turbulent a career as the Niners’ top pick from the 2005 NFL Draft, quarterback Alex Smith.

And if you’re having doubts, ESPN’s E:60 documentary, Project11, should convince you otherwise.

Smith, of course, joined what was a two-win 49ers squad the year he was drafted. And while he was looked at as being San Francisco’s on-field savior, Smith’s early efforts were marked by injuries, multiple offensive coordinators, disagreements with then-head coach Mike Nolan and plenty of headaches and heartbreaks.

For those first six seasons, Smith had “bust” written all over him.

All that changed under Jim Harbaugh in 2011, though, and Smith’s crowning moment was beating the New Orleans Saints in the 2012 divisional round of the playoffs. Had the 49ers not suffered a heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants in the conference championship, there’s a good chance Smith would have captured a Super Bowl ring over the New England Patriots the game after.

Smith backed up Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII, of course, and San Francisco would move the former to the Kansas City Chiefs the following offseason, where he’d groom an eventual Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

Smith’s ring remains elusive.