The career tenures of NFL players can be short, and these five former 49ers draft picks might have already seen their playing days come to an end.
It’s easy to be critical of some of the San Francisco 49ers’ selections in the NFL Draft over the years. Especially if we’re looking at the tenure of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Without quantifying things too much (as that could take hours), the reality is both Lynch and Shanahan have had hits and misses about in line with the rest of the league.
Such is the unpredictable nature of how the NFL Draft pans out.
True, big-time misses rarely go unpunished in the court of fanbase opinion, and many of those misses wind up having awfully brief careers. Others, who at least had modest chances, eventually flame out.
And others still wind up seeing their careers come to a close a bit sooner than expected.
Let’s take a look at some of those Niners draft picks whose careers in the NFL might be over without anyone truly knowing it.
Former 49ers draft pick No. 5: Wide receiver Jalen Hurd (2019)
Yes, we can go back to two wide receiver picks San Francisco apparently whiffed on between 2018 and 2019, Dante Pettis in Round 2 of 2018 and wide receiver Jalen Hurd in Round 3 the following year.
Pettis at least had a modestly impressive rookie season that year before falling into Shanahan’s doghouse in 2019 and off the roster completely in 2020, but Hurd was certainly a massive disappointment.
It might have been more from injuries, though, as his brief foray into preseason action his rookie year was impressive, scoring two exhibition touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys before a back injury sidelined him for the rest of the year.
And an ACL tear during the following offseason ramp-up towards training camp.
The 49ers gave up on the Hurd experiment entering 2021, and no other team across the league took a flier on the former Baylor converted running back despite his seemingly awesome physical prowess.
As such, Hurd will be a classic “what could have been?” example.