Round 2, Pick 31: Reuben Foster
For months, Reuben Foster’s name was tied to the 49ers in one way, shape or form.
After three seasons of leaving Navarro Bowman to fend for himself in the middle of the field, Foster was the only pick that made sense. He’s been labeled as a top five pick, and quite possibly one of the best defenders to enter the draft.
However, after news of a dilute sample broke franchises steered clear of the Alabama prospect.
Though the 49ers selected Solomon Thomas with the number three overall pick it still seemed as though destiny wanted the 49ers to draft Foster. With day one coming to a close, John Lynch pulled off a trade that would get his team back into the first round. All he had to surrender was the 34th pick and pick number 111 that he acquired earlier that night from the Chicago Bears.
With the Saints looking closely at the Butkus Award winner with pick number 32, Lynch wasted no time pulling him off the big board.
Foster brings a level of play back to the 49ers defense that has been missing since Patrick Willis retired. Foster should be a day one starter. In fact he should be one of the best on the team.
With Navarro Bowman settling into the MIKE position, Foster looks to be a WILL candidate. That would put him directly behind fellow newcomer Solomon Thomas.
Anyone out there see a problem with that?
Coined as the most complete linebacker in the draft according to Pro Football Focus, Rueben Foster is the complete package. He can provide heavy pressure on the quarterback as evident by his five sacks in 2016. He’s also had great success dropping back into coverage. In his junior season he logged 10 passes defensed, all of them resulting in a defensive stop.
Foster will have no problem starting over Ahmad Brooks, and has all the tools to beat out Aaron Lynch. As a senior against the run, he recorded 20 tackles in 106 snaps, that’s a run stop percentage of 14.2, 15 of those stops resulting in a turnover on downs.
He’s the kind of guy you build franchises around. With any luck, he won’t just perfect his position for many years to come, his presence should help preserve the career of Navarro Bowman.
Once again, the 49ers have themselves two of the most feared linebackers in the game.
Prediction: Starting OLB
Next: Ahkello Witherspoon