3 49ers One-Hit Wonders We Wish Hadn't Disappeared

With a bejeweled franchise legacy, some players failed to live up to their expectations in San Francisco.
With a bejeweled franchise legacy, some players failed to live up to their expectations in San Francisco. | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When you look back the the 49ers' prestigious history, there are simply too many sensational players to name. Beween Hall of Famers and Super Bowl champs, the list goes on and on. But, what about some of the guys who made their marks on the organization, but did so in a short-lived fashion?

Indeed, some who were bound to become team greats fell off after just a single season. Here are three 49ers one-hit wonders we wished matched their promise.

3. LB Chris Borland

Chris Borland is the dictionary definition of a one-hit wonder.
Chris Borland is the dictionary definition of a one-hit wonder. | Al Bello/Getty Images

After a five-year career in Wisconsin, the 49ers drafted Borland with the 77th pick in 2014. Due to Patrick Willis' injury, Borland earned a starting role in Week 7 and broke out for an unforgettable rookie campaign, including 107 tackles and two interceptions. Borland was bound to become a centerpiece for the 49ers defense, but stepped away from the game after just one season out of concussion concerns, ending a career before it even got off the ground.

2. DT Cleveland Elam

Injuries put a quick end to Cleveland Elam's rise to fame.
Injuries put a quick end to Cleveland Elam's rise to fame. | Abbie Parr/Getty Images

A fourth-round round pick in 1975, Elam posted a mind-blowing 17.5 sacks in 1977. Those are unreal numbers. However, Elam took a massive step back in 1978 due to injuries and was traded to Detroit where his career reached a sudden end after just a single season there.

1. LB Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith's massive promise has gone largely unfulfilled.
Aldon Smith's massive promise has gone largely unfulfilled. | Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

Aldon Smith had high expectations coming into the NFL, and as such, was the seventh overall pick by the 49ers in 2011. Despite not starting a single contest in his rookie season, Smith saw the field in all 16 games and contributed. In 2012, Smith skyrocketed to 66 tackles and 19.5 sacks, along with 3 forced fumbles. Pro Bowl and First-team accolades came his way as well. Unfortunately, substance abuse concerns began to plague him, as suspensions and rehabilitation damaged his career, preventing him from pursuing the title of one of the very best defensive talents. He's now with the Cowboys after not playing since 2015, looking to redeem himself, but we're left to wonder what could have been for SF.