Why Kyle Shanahan Sours on Players the 49ers Trade up to Draft

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This is a strange pattern.

Since 2017, when Kyle Shanahan became the 49ers head coach, the 49ers have traded up to draft seven players, and all seven quickly wound up in Shanahan's doghouse, as if he never wanted them.

Here are the players Shanahan has traded up to draft.

1. Linebacker Reuben Foster.

The 49ers traded up in Round 1 of the 2017 draft to take him. He started 16 games for the 49ers and recorded 101 tackles, but the 49ers waived after he was charged with domestic violence, charges that later were dropped.

2. C.J. Beathard.

The 49ers traded up in Round 3 of the 2017 draft to take him. He started 10 games for the 49ers in 2017 and 2018 when they were bad, then Shanahan buried him on the depth chart beneath Nick Mullens for two years, and did not re-sign him this offseason.

3. Running back Joe Williams.

The 49ers traded up in Round 4 of the 2017 draft to take him. He wasn't even on the 49ers draft board. Shanahan insisted they take him anyway, then he never played a down in the NFL.

4. Wide receiver Dante Pettis.

The 49ers traded up in Round 2 of the 2018 draft to take him. He had a solid rookie season, then Shanahan benched him for a having a bad training camp during his second season, then waived Pettis midway through his third season.

5. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

The 49ers traded up in Round 1 of the 2020  draft to take him. He had an excellent rookie season, then Shanahan benched him for supposedly having an inconsistent training camp this offseason. Now, Aiyuk is the No. 3 receiver behind Trent Sherfield, who had just five catches last season for the Cardinals. Sherfield is starting because he played better than Aiyuk in practice, apparently.

6. Running back Trey Sermon.

The 49ers traded up in Round 3 of the 2021 draft to take him, presumably because they really liked him. Then Shanahan made him inactive for Week 1 after he averaged 5.3 yards per carry in the 49ers' preseason finale. Go figure.

7. Quarterback Trey Lance.

The 49ers traded up in Round 1 of the 2021 draft to take him, traded three first rounders plus a third, presumably because they really, really liked him. Then Shanahan decided before training camp that Lance isn't ready to start and didn't let him compete for the job. Now he's the 49ers' version of Taysom Hill -- a guy who plays a few snaps and mostly runs.

Why does Shanahan The Coach sour so quickly on the players Shanahan The GM coveted in the draft?

Is it because Shanahan The Coach holds those players to a higher standard? Or is it because he sees himself as a young Bill Belichick, someone who relishes the opportunity to bench or cut a high draft pick just to show he doesn't play favorites?

Whatever the reason, it seems counterproductive. He should play his top draft picks, or he should let someone else have final say on the players they draft.