No team is immune from roster mistakes, but the state of the 49ers so far in 2021 highlights just how painful these five players’ lack of contributions is.
The San Francisco 49ers were hoping their 2021 campaign would be a massive turnaround from the injury-plagued 2020 efforts that immediately put a halt to whatever the “revenge tour” was supposed to be after defeat in Super Bowl LIV.
Halfway through the current season, however, it’s abundantly clear no revenge tour is going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future.
Blame can and will be widespread, even though the bulk ultimately falls upon head coach Kyle Shanahan. And while a number of his own moves and mistakes have put the Niners into the 3-5 situation they find themselves at this point in the year, a number of other players simply haven’t contributed either.
In some cases, it’s merely poor or wholly absent play. In others, Shanahan’s roster decisions have played a significant role.
Whatever the cases may be, these five players haven’t helped much, if at all.
49ers Player No. 5: Wide Receiver Jalen Hurd
Exactly why Shanahan and the front office stuck by third-year pro wide receiver Jalen Hurd, a converted collegiate running back who also suffered injuries before making it to the NFL, for so long is baffling.
Hurd, a Round 3 NFL Draft investment from 2019, certainly had his upsides and enticing potential. But he suffered a serious back injury that prematurely ended his rookie season before tearing his ACL in training camp a year later. That should have been the end of the experiment, yet San Francisco stubbornly stood by him entering 2021, even letting him tease fans with the occasional report of progress in training camp and the here-and-there play during preseason games.
Only to see Hurd revert back to the injured list, followed by Shanahan telling reporters he wasn’t expecting Hurd back for the rest of the year. And that ultimately led to the Niners waiving him on Nov. 11, probably over a year after they should have done so originally.
Botched pick. Plain and simple.
While Hurd hadn’t technically counted against the 49ers roster, being on IR, his inability to stay healthy effectively wasted time the Niners could have spent trying to develop and hone other receiving targets to bolster what’s been a thin back end of the wide receiver depth chart this season.