Kyle Shanahan: 5 biggest mistakes 49ers coach has made in 2021

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers running back Trey Sermon (28) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Kyle Shanahan has largely refused 49ers rookies

Trey Lance is just one case study in Kyle Shanahan not giving preference to his first-year player class.

And while there may be some arguments as to why, specifically Shanahan not wanting to give Lance “negative” experiences early in his career, the same argument can’t apply to other players on the roster.

True, fifth-round rookies like safety Talanoa Hufanga and offensive lineman Jaylon Moore had to wait until injuries opened up the door at otherwise stabilized positions. But Shanahan and the 49ers have essentially closed the door on their day-two draft picks.

Particularly offensive guard Aaron Banks from Round 2, and the third-round selections, running back Trey Sermon and cornerback Ambry Thomas:

Banks, despite his struggles in training camp and the preseason, might as well see time in the wake of veteran lineman Daniel Brunskill struggling, especially if Brunskill’s best value to the team is at a backup.

And even though rookie rusher Elijah Mitchell has developed into a quality find out of Round 6, Sermon being an afterthought (he was inactive in Week 9) is awfully puzzling and doesn’t help solve the multitude of injuries the Niners have suffered at the position.

Thomas and fifth-round corner Deommodore Lenoir need to be higher up on the depth chart and over lackluster veterans like Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick.

If anything, San Francisco needs to start playing for 2022 now, and there’s no reason to hold off on giving these rookies an increase in field time.