Ranking the 49ers' last 10 first-round draft picks from worst to best

A ranking of the last 10 San Francisco 49ers' first-round draft selections from worst to best.
Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers
Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Kyle Shanahan, Trey Lance, Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers Training Camp / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

No. 9: QB Trey Lance (2021)

In arguably the worst trade in franchise history, the 49ers traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft so they would have the thirrd overall pick.

With that pick, they selected Trey Lance.

While his collegiate career was incredibly brief, the hope was that his athleticism and speed would allow him to be successful in the NFL.

That is not how things panned out.

Lance was unable to beat out Jimmy Garoppolo for a starting quarterback job in 2021 even though Garoppolo was banged up at times and struggled when he was on the field. The Niners committed to Lance as their starting quarterback ahead of the 2022 season, but he broke his ankle in the second game of the year and never played in another regular-season game for San Francisco.

Brock Purdy emerged as the future at the quarterback position, and he has not looked back. If Purdy had struggled or looked bad when he had to fill in after the injury to Garoppolo in 2022, perhaps Lance would still be on the 49ers.

As things ended up, Purdy made it clear that he was the superior quarterback, and the 49ers wound up trading Lance to the Cowboys for a fourth-round pick. It was a pretty colossal mistake by the 49ers, but the fact that they were able to find their quarterback of the future the following year with the last pick of the draft almost negated this gaffe.

It remains to be seen what Lance's future in the NFL will hold. He has only played in eight regular-season NFL games in his career. He currently sits at No. 3 on the depth chart in Dallas, and it is unclear when (or if) he will get a chance to start in the NFL. He will go down as one of the worst draft selections in Niners history, especially considering what they had to give up to get him.

The next draft pick is no longer on the 49ers and was a pretty big disappointment for the team on the offensive line.