49ers NFL Draft: Grading rookie class halfway through 2021

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Ambry Thomas, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Round 3 Pick: Cornerback Ambry Thomas

In the same press conference that Kyle Shanahan told reporters Elijah Mitchell beat out Trey Sermon, Shanahan also revealed the plan for the Niners’ two drafted cornerbacks, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, was for them to serve as backups in year one.

Kind of a startling development, considering San Francisco was hinging its hopes on oft-injured cornerback Jason Verrett, who played just six regular-season games between 2016 and 2019, to stay healthy in 2021.

Verrett landed on season-ending IR after tearing his ACL in Week 1, so that was a poor choice.

And it was Thomas who found himself thrust into an emergency role right away, ultimately having allowed three catches on three targets for 44 yards with an opposing passer rating of 118.7 when targeting him.

Not good. So, from that vantage point, Shanahan’s original approach carries some weight.

Still, Thomas has found himself inactive on a weekly basis since, which has also been quite troubling, considering San Francisco has relied on underperforming veterans like Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick to fill the void left at cornerback.

This could change in the second half, particularly if the 49ers fall further out of contention.

But for now, the Thomas selection is looking like yet another major flop.

Grade: F