The San Francisco 49ers have made a big move to close out the first round. They moved up from No. 34 to No. 31, with the Seattle Seahawks and giving up the fourth round pick they got from the Bears. With the pick, the 49ers selected linebacker Reuben Foster.
The pick is an interesting one to say the least. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller and MMQB’s Albert Breer both said a few weeks back that Foster was high on the 49ers draft board. There were a lot of people questioning that, but it has proven true.
The pick is a bit of a surprise in light of the numerous red flags that have popped up this offseason. He had rotator cuff surgery in February. Then he was sent home from the NFL Combine after getting into a verbal altercation with medical personnel. Then, in the past week we learned that he failed a drug test because he had a diluted sample. Not exactly a good run of events.
Red flags aside, Foster is the most talented linebacker in this draft. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers use him in their new-look 4-3. Coming into the draft, they were likely playing Ahmad Brooks on the strong side, NaVorro Bowman in the middle, and Malcolm Smith on the weak side. Foster is going to be expected to contribute in a big way out of the gates. One option is to move Bowman to strong, Smith to middle. Brooks could then either move down to defensive end, be strictly a nickel defensive end, or the 49ers could release or trade him. They have some options.
How would you grade the 49ers trade and pick of Reuben Foster?
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1. First round: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford
2. First round: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
3. Third round: Own - No. 2 (66 overall)
4. Third round: Chicago Bears - No. 3 (67 overall)
5. Fourth round: Own - No. 2 (109 overall)
6. Fourth round: Comp pick - No. 37 (143 overall)
7. Fifth round: Own - No. 2 (146 overall)
8. Fifth round: Washington (Derek Carrier trade) - No. 17 (161 overall)
9. Sixth round: Baltimore Ravens - No. 14 (198 overall)
10. Sixth round: Denver Broncos (Vernon Davis trade) - No. 18 (202 overall)
11. Seventh round: Cleveland Browns (Andy Lee trade) - No. 1 (219 overall)