Former 49ers draft pick No. 4: Tight end Kaden Smith (2019)
We’re not dogging on the Niners’ 2019 NFL Draft class. Not at all.
Especially considering San Francisco landed Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa at No. 2 overall, All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel in Round 2, then supplemented that outstanding tandem by grabbing linebacker Dre Greenlaw on day three of the draft.
Two blue-chip players and one quality starter… usually the mark of an excellent draft class.
Despite the aforementioned miss on Jalen Hurd, another somewhat shocking whiff was on former Stanford tight end Kaden Smith, who appeared poised for some excellent work as an all-around talent to complement then budding-superstar tight end George Kittle.
Smith never made it out of preseason action, though, and the 49ers subsequently waived him before Week 1. They might have wanted to stash him on the practice squad, yet the New York Giants ultimately claimed him and played him for three seasons before he hit NFL free agency in 2022.
None of which were exemplary, though.
Considering the thinness of the 2022 tight end class, both in free agency and this year’s draft, one might have figured Smith could latch on somewhere even as a No. 2 or No. 3 option.
He hasn’t, though, meaning he might fit the mold of an average NFL career lasting only a shade over three years.