3 first-round NFL Draft mistakes that continue to haunt 49ers

What are some of the first-round NFL Draft misses the 49ers have had that continue to plague them to this day?

Trey Lance (North Dakota State) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
Trey Lance (North Dakota State) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next

No. 2: 49ers trade DeForest Buckner, draft Javon Kinlaw as his replacement (No. 14 overall, 2020 NFL Draft)

In an unpopular (but understandable) move, the Niners ultimately couldn't reach an agreement with star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner after the 2019 season and elected to trade him off to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick in return.

Then, San Francisco traded down from No. 13 overall in a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, moving to No. 14 overall instead.

More on that in a second, but the 49ers' replacement for Buckner ended up being South Carolina's defensive tackle, Javon Kinlaw.

Talented, yes, Kinlaw nevertheless had plenty of injury issues over his first three years with the Niners, appearing in just 10 regular-season games between 2021 and 2022 and coming nowhere close to matching Buckner's prowess. While Kinlaw's 2023 campaign as a reserve player was solid, San Francisco opted not to pick up his fifth-year option.

Trading Buckner might have been unavoidable, but it's safe to say Kinlaw didn't fit the bill.

Making things worse, the Bucs subsequently picked up three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs at No. 13, making the Kinlaw selection that much more painful.