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San Francisco 49ers’ Final Haul in Alex Smith Trade is a Doozy

When the San Francisco 49ers traded Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for two second-round picks last March, many came to the conclusion that Kansas City gave up way too much for a serviceable starting quarterback. After all, Smith had been a mediocre quarterback throughout a vast majority of his career before finally stepping his game up under Jim Harbaugh in 2011. 

At the time of the trade, Smith had compiled a 38-36-1 record in 75 career starts with 81 career touchdowns and 63 interceptions. Smith went on to lead Kansas City to an 11-5 record and a spot in the postseason.

Meanwhile, San Francisco traded down from the original spot it acquired from Kansas City to take former Florida State defensive end Cornellius Carradine, who sat out his entire rookie campaign after an ACL tear in his final college game with the Seminoles. On the surface, not San Francisco didn’t acquire a single player that made major contributions last season in the deal.

It did, however, pick up an additional third-round pick in 2014 to go along with that second rounder. After a series of trades, including the acquisition of Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco ended up swapping out Smith for five players.

Here is the breakdown.


Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, Defensive End

Courtesy of 49ers.com. Carradine figures to play an important role in 2014.

Courtesy of 49ers.com. Carradine figures to play an important role in 2014.

Carradine sat out the entire 2013 season after tearing his ACL in his final game at Florida State. This was a likelihood when the 49ers selected him and they stuck to their plan, even though “Tank” was seemingly ready to produce towards the latter part of the season.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller ranked Carradine as the No. 5 overall player in the 2013 draft. That’s simply amazing considering many had come to the conclusion that Carradine would sit out his rookie campaign. Now at nearly 300 pounds and 100 percent healthy, Tank is set to make a major impact for the 49ers. He will likely be the primary back up to both Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. Moving forward, he will be starting for this dominating defense for years to come.

Corey Lemonier, Linebacker

San Francisco traded up for Lemonier in the third round of the draft last April, as part of the Smith deal. He’s an athletic edge rusher that made an immediate impact when Aldon Smith was put into alcohol rehab. He’s a tremendous pass-rush threat from the linebacker position and will add a whole heck of a lot to the linebacker group as a sophomore. Lemonier is a potential long-term replacement for the aging Ahmad Brooks.

Carlos Hyde, Running Back

San Francisco surprised everyone by going running back in the second round earlier this month. It didn’t surprise anyone by taking this powerful running back that seems to fit its rushing attack to a T. Hyde put up 1,521 rushing yards and 15 scores in 2013, averaging a ridiculous 7.3 yards per attempt. He did so against solid defenses in the Big 10 and fits the 49ers down-hill rushing scheme. Hyde will make an immediate impact as a short-yardage player as a rookie, but figures to challenge Marcus Lattimore as Frank Gore’s potential long-term replacement.

Chris Borland, Linebacker

Borland was considered a potential early Day 2 pick leading up to the draft. The reason he fell to the third round is because Borland is small in stature and struggles to an extent getting into the offensive backfield. He’s an elite tackler and can drop back into coverage from the inside linebacker position. Expect Borland to start in lieu of the injured NaVorro Bowman and eventually take over as San Francisco’s primary backup behind Bowman and Patrick Willis.

Stevie Johnson, Wide Receiver

Johnson needed to be included in the haul for Smith. He was acquired from the Buffalo Bills for a fourth-round pick during the second day of the draft. San Francisco acquired a fourth rounder from the Denver Broncos to move down in the second round of the draft, making the deal for Johnson a wash. The second rounder San Francisco traded to the Broncos was originally from Kansas City. In any event, the 49ers have a No. 3 wide receiver that has put up three 1,000-yard seasons in his NFL career. How many teams can say that? Oh, and Johnson is still only 27 years old and under contract for the next three seasons.

Photo: Robert Mayer, USA Today