5 San Francisco 49ers we can safely call busts after 2023 season

Not every player the Niners sign, draft or trade for can be a home-run hit.

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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While the 49ers boasted an elite roster in 2023, these five players just didn't quite fit the bill and are probably best left regarded as busts.

The San Francisco 49ers don't have a ton of holes on their roster at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Having made the Super Bowl, the Niners are very much intact heading into 2024 and only need to address a handful of positions during the offseason. And while depth is always going to be a concern, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan should feel pretty good about their chances of keeping San Francisco in championship contention once again.

Despite the roster's strengths and successes, though, there are inevitably going to be some whiffs.

Here are a few that essentially proved to be no-gos, and these five players fell way short of hitting expectations.

No. 5: 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson

Edge Drake Jackson was a disappointment his rookie season after being selected in Round 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Notching three sacks that year and batting eight passes down, there was nevertheless hope that he would develop into something special despite being a healthy scratch down the stretch that year and into the playoffs.

Indeed, Jackson entered 2023 training camp looking significantly stronger and more athletic. After a three-sack game in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, all signs pointed to the former USC defender having a breakout-kind of year.

Except he didn't.

Those three sacks were all that Jackson managed, and the 49ers' pre-NFL trade deadline scrambling to trade for edges Randy Gregory and Chase Young were a significant vote of no-confidence in Jackson being an integral part of the Niners defense.

It seems as if Jackson is now poised to be little more than just a role player.

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