The 49ers have had players in their history who just never panned out and went elsewhere. Which players thrived after leaving the team, though?
The San Francisco 49ers have had their fair share of players whom they’ve drafted who just didn’t pan out. The NFL Draft and the players selected can sometimes be a real gamble for teams.
There have been enough cases where great NFL Scouting Combine numbers and even success at the NCAA level were not able to properly predict success at the pro level.
Typically, players who didn’t pan out fully on the 49ers didn’t find much success elsewhere either. But there are always those rare occasions in which certain players just need more time to develop. And some players just need a different system than what was being employed on the team that first signed them.
Or there are simply players who are stuck on the depth chart behind highly talented players who play the same position. Whatever the case may be, there are situations in which certain players are not “busts,” but rather need a change of scenery to let their skills shine forth.
In the last two decades, there have been a few players who didn’t hit their strides with San Francisco for multiple reasons but ended up finding success with future teams. Maybe that success came with Pro Bowl selections. Or maybe it came with career bests in numbers.
Or maybe it was both.
Who are some of those players drafted by the 49ers who never hit their stride with the team, but thrived on their new teams?
Let’s take a look at the top three from the 2000s.