Ranking the 49ers' last 10 first-round draft picks from worst to best

A ranking of the last 10 San Francisco 49ers' first-round draft selections from worst to best.
Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers
Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
2 of 11
Reuben Foster, Deshaun Watson
San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

No. 10: LB Reuben Foster (2017)

The 2017 NFL Draft saw the 49ers have two first-round picks. The first one they used at No. 3 overall on Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, while the second they used at No. 31 overall to select linebacker Reuben Foster.

Foster was a standout player at the University of Alabama and even won the Butkus Award, given to the best linebacker in college football. His talent as a player was never in doubt, but his conduct off the field was something that was very much in question.

Prior to the draft, Foster got into an argument with a student medical worker at the NFL Combine which led to him being sent home before meeting with teams. Then, Foster tested positive for drugs when he took a drug test. Despite this, John Lynch and the 49ers were comfortable taking him in the first round despte these question marks.

After 2017, it seemed like a wise gamble as Foster played in 10 games for San Francisco and had 72 tackles for the team. However, issues crept up again in the summer of 2018 when Foster was suspended for two games for a weapons and drug offense that violated the NFL's personal conduct policy.

He played in six games for the 49ers in 2018 before he was arrested for domestic violence and was subsequently released by San Francisco in November of that year. It was an embarrassing moment for the Shanahan-Lynch regime as well as CEO Jed York, who had promised that the team would "win with class" following the firing of former head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015.

Foster has never played in the NFL again, although he was signed by Washington in 2019 and is currently playing in the UFL.

Despite his promise, his off-the-field issues kept showing up time and time again. It was a wasted pick and showed that the team overestimated their ability to get Foster on the right track.

That is why he is the worst first-round pick for the 49ers of their last 10.

The second worst pick did not have any off-the-field issues, but the Niners gave up way too much to get him, and he ended up being much worse than they anticipated.