49ers: 3 players whose careers took off after leaving San Francisco

Alex Smith Kansas City Chiefs, Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Alex Smith Kansas City Chiefs, Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco 49ers, Trent Brown
Trent Brown San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Tackle Trent Brown, the 49ers’ Late-Round Find

One of the first players who come to mind when speaking of ex-49ers who found success elsewhere is offensive tackle Trent Brown. He was a seventh-round (244th overall) selection of the 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida.

Brown came to the team in the shaky post-Jim Harbaugh years in which most offensive players found very little success. He was primarily used at the right tackle spot and didn’t have much to write home about as far as productivity for his first two seasons.

In his third season, also the first-under head coach Kyle Shanahan, Brown saw a jump in productivity. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 73.0 for his 2017 campaign.

During the 2018 NFL Draft, the 49ers traded Brown to the New England Patriots along with their 2018 fifth-round draft pick for a 2018 third-round draft pick.

The Patriots moved Brown to left tackle, and he started all 16 games in 2018 at that spot. He helped the Patriots greatly that season especially in the playoffs in which he was graded at second overall among tackles by PFF at 79.9 overall.

And he ended that season as a Super Bowl champion.

Brown’s 2018 campaign earned him a very nice contract with the Last Vegas Raiders (then Oakland) in 2019. They went onto sign Brown to a four-year, $66 million deal.

The Raiders moved Brown back to right tackle in 2019 and he continued to excel. He was great in pass protection as well as run blocking, and he helped propel running back Josh Jacobs to a 1,150-yard season. His production in 2019 earned him his first Pro Bowl selection.

Brown is a perfect example of a player who took a few years to develop, and unfortunately for the 49ers, hit his stride after he left the red and gold.