The San Francisco 49ers landed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, and following the pick, GM John Lynch talked about how Foster was his draft crush. He said Foster and Solomon Thomas joined Myles Garrett atop their draft board, so getting Foster at No. 31 was a big coup for them.
It turns out their love for Foster dates back to well before the draft. Eric Branch had a chance to sit down with 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters, and he had quite a bit to say about Foster.
When the 49ers hired Lynch, his first hire was then Denver Broncos director of college scouting Adam Peters. They obviously had some conversations prior to the announcement, and Lynch told Branch that one of his first questions for Peters (who was still with the Broncos) was what he would do with the No. 2 pick.
Lynch recently laughed as relayed Peters’ answer: “Without hesitation,” Lynch recalled, “he said ‘Reuben Foster.’”
Lynch said that Peters was one of Foster’s biggest proponent, and Peters himself said as much. Branch sat down with Peters for a wide-ranging interview I believe he’ll be posting later, but there was plenty of discussion about Foster. In a separate article, Peters talked about how he couldn’t help but notice Foster prior to the 2016 NFL draft.
Reggie Ragland was the big Alabama linebacker prospect. While doing some video study of Ragland, Peters became more and more enamored with Foster.
“This guy (Foster) is running past (Ragland) on every single play and making it,” Peters said. “It was like ‘Forget about that guy - who is that guy?’ And Reggie Ragland is a very good payer in his own right, don’t get me wrong.”
Peters went into all sorts of detail about why he loves Foster as a player. He talked about Foster’s ability as a three-down linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline. He talked about his intensity. And even amidst the off-field questions, he talked about how important football and “the brotherhood of being a part of a football team is” to Foster.
Peters said he thinks that will keep Foster focused on making the right decisions. It’s certainly a gamble, both with his shoulder and with the off-field questions. But if Foster gets back to 100 percent and keep focused on football, the 49ers will almost assuredly have themselves quite a steal.