SF 49ers: 5 players who can now safely be called ‘busts’

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trent Taylor, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor (81) Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports /

The SF 49ers have had some ‘wait and see’ cases with players on their roster, but these five can now safely be called ‘busts.’

Rarely will NFL general managers get it right a majority of the time, and SF 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan sure have had their fair share of gaffes.

Case in point, the 2017 first-round NFL Draft selections of defensive end Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster panned out nowhere near the desired levels of expectations. Thomas quickly went from an up-and-coming hopeful to a rotational player, while Foster’s legal troubles resulted in him being dismissed from the team a year after he was drafted.

Those two were clear-cut busts, made even more painful when considering some of the other talent (here’s looking at you, quarterback Patrick Mahomes) that would have been available to Lynch, Shanahan and Co.

Aside from tight end George Kittle and to a lesser extent, nose tackle D.J. Jones, the entire Niners’ 2017 draft class turned into a flop.

Not surprisingly, a number of other players San Francisco selected that year wind up on this list of players who can safely be called “busts” after not panning out anywhere close to desired or hopeful levels of production.

These five squarely fall into this category now.

No. 5: SF 49ers Wide Receiver Trent Taylor

True, fifth-round draft picks aren’t necessarily expected to become major contributors. But after a very promising rookie year in which he had 19 third-down catches for a first down — ninth best in the NFL in 2017 — wide receiver Trent Taylor was looking like he was destined to become the next great slot pass-catcher in the likes of former New England Patriots and Denver Broncos star, Wes Welker.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Back injuries thwarted Taylor’s follow-up 2018 campaign, limiting him to just 26 receptions for 215 yards, while a foot fracture landed him on injured reserve for all of 2019.

Whatever resurgence was going to happen this year never materialized, as Taylor recorded a mere 10 catches for 86 yards over 11 games played before being a healthy scratch for San Francisco in Week 13.

That last part is telling, as the SF 49ers appear to have their wide receiver room set for the rest of the season, meaning the free-agent to be, Taylor, is all but gone in 2021 after generating so much hype early in his career.