Isaac Sopoaga? Gone to the Eagles. Delanie Walker? Gone to the Titans. Dashon Goldson? Gone to the Bucs. It's never fun to see a homegrown guy with talent bolt for another team, but it's worth reviewing their contributions since they were all here for so long.
Isaac Sopoaga was a 4th round draft pick of the 49ers back in 2005, but he didn't emerge as a full-time starter on the defensive line until his fourth year in the league. He averaged a sack and 20 tackles each season for the bulk of his time here, expected stats for an interior defensive lineman. The problem last year was he began to wear down, which limited his ability to draw double-teams and plug the gaps, critical tasks for a nose tackle. By the end of the year, he was regularly splitting time with younger guys like Ian Williams.
As for Delanie Walker, he was a 6th round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Critics could argue he was little more than a backup to the spectacular Vernon Davis, but the 49ers used him to wreak havoc on defenses as an all-purpose utility man. Walker could line up as a receiver, tight-end, or full-back. He could return kickoffs, lay down blocks, or catch a ball down field. His only weakness seemed to be his penchant for dropped passes last year.
A 4th round pick in the 2007 draft, Dashon Goldson didn't emerge as a full-time starter until his third year in the league. He was a hard-hitting enforcer in the secondary and very effective against the run. The only knocks on Goldson was that he'd rack up penalties for questionable hits on receivers and occasionally blow his pass coverage assignment.
Anyways, here's wishing these three fine gentlemen the best of luck with their new teams and hoping they never get in our way of winning another Super Bowl.