The San Francisco 49ers had Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster high on their draft board. They had Myles Garrett No. 1, Solomon Thomas No. 2, and Foster No. 3. After moving down a spot in the first round and getting Thomas third overall, they were then able to trade back into the back end of the first round to get Foster.
Foster entered the pre-draft process viewed as a potential top ten pick. The 49ers thought he would not slip past the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 9, and yet a host of issues caused him to plummet in the first round. The failed drug test and verbal altercation with a Combine medical assistant did not help, but questions about his shoulders were a big factor as well.
With that in mind, we’re back with another look at what anonymous scouts have to say about Foster. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journel Sentinel runs a pre-draft column every year featuring all sorts of random comments from anonymous scouts. They love giving opinions without attaching their name, and McGinn does a great job compiling the quotations.
I thought that for each 49ers pick that showed up in McGinn's column, I'd pull out what the scouts had to say. Some of the comments are going to be truthful, while it's possible others are scouts looking to get a guy down to them, or push him up to get someone else down to them. Whatever the case, it gives us opinions from people who do this for a living, with slightly greater repercussions than your average draft prognosticator. Yesterday, we looked at what they had to say about Solomon Thomas. Today, we move on to Foster.
McGinn ranked out all the linebackers, and ranked Reuben Foster the top inside linebacker. Here are what four scouts told McGinn about Foster.
1. “Love him,” said one scout. “You talk about explosive, he and Jarrad Davis are train wrecks coming at you. He can run you down and he will kill you. He is so physical. … My problem is the mental part. He’s been in the same system with Nick (Saban) so he can regurgitate that. But he’s probably going to need somebody next to him to tell him how to play. Two years ago he led the team in MA’s (missed assignments). He’s also had stingers, shoulders, a lot of injuries. He delivers a lot of punishment and he takes a lot of punishment.”
2. “He likes football,” said another scout. “He can do it.”
3. “Look, there will be maintenance, but I think he will be OK,” said a third scout. “I trust him. I’m more worried about the shoulders.”
4. “Probably the hardest hitter, best range and biggest playmaker of the group,” a fourth scout said. “Not a real bright guy but seems to see the game very, very well. Whether he can hold up is the main concern.”