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
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No. 1: 49ers aggressively trade up for Trey Lance (No. 3 overall, 2021 NFL Draft)

The 49ers swung for the fences in 2021 by trading their first-round pick that year, two future first-round picks and a third-rounder to the Miami Dolphins to get to the No. 3 overall selection.

With that pick, the Niners grabbed a promising-yet-inexperienced quarterback, Trey Lance.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins cashed in on those draft assets in response:

If Lance turned into a franchise quarterback, San Francisco wouldn't haved cared much about what Miami did in return.

But Lance never caught on with the 49ers, riding the bench behind quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2021 and then suffering a devastating broken ankle that ended his season early in 2022. By 2023, the timetable on Lance ran out, and the Niners turned in favor of the final pick of the 2023 draft, Brock Purdy, to solve their quarterbacking needs.

Lance was then unceremoniously traded off to the Dallas Cowboys for a mere fourth-round pick.

In hindsight, one can only wonder if San Francisco had stayed put at No. 12 overall, where the Dallas Cowboys selected perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Micah Parsons.

All those other draft assets could have worked wonders in building an even deeper 49ers team the following two years, too.

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