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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No. 3: 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas

Young defensive backs often struggle transitioning to the NFL, and there are times when patience is key.

Such could help explain cornerback Ambry Thomas, the third-round pick from the 2021 draft who flashed some promise late during his rookie season but fell flat in 2022.

Granted, Thomas rebounded somewhat in 2023 and even managed to squeak into the starting lineup, thanks to some shifts within San Francisco's secondary. Yet he was still viewed as the weakest link within the 49ers' defensive backfield, allowing more than 70 percent of all targets his way to go for catches along with three touchdowns surrendered, all for an allowed passer rating of 97.9.

Thomas might still be a workable piece of the Niners' depth chart at the position until his contract expires after 2024, but it's pretty evident that he won't be much more than that.