The San Francisco 49ers think they scored big in landing Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster at No. 31 this past week. Foster was No. 3 on their draft board, and they thought he was likely to go in the top ten. Foster slipped because of multiple reports that his shoulder surgery did not take care of the issue and he would likely need another surgery.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter brought it up again on Wednesday, with one source saying the shoulder could go on any hit. On Thursday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was on KNBR, and the first question was about Schefter’s report. The hosts suggested the anonymous sources are simply people trying to cover their butts for not taking him. Shanahan had this to say.
“There’s 32 teams and everyone has their own doctors and everyone goes through a process. I mean, you look back to John Ross, a lot people thought he was gonna go really late because a lot of teams had stuff on him. But obviously Cincy felt different, they took him early in the draft so they felt good about it.
“Our doctors do a great job, they looked into everything with Reuben and met with him, and our doctors felt good about his shoulder. They thought it was recovering well, they didn’t have the same report a lot of other teams did. You never know who’s going to end up be right, everyone’s trying to do their best to figure it out. But no one can tell the future.
“I just look at it as, you go with what your doctors say. And then you always think about, ‘Alright, what about the worst-case scenario? What if this is true?’ The worst-case scenario is, the shoulder doesn’t heal correctly and you got to do it again. When you have to do it again, you gotta get another surgery, so it’d be tough to play this year and you’d end up having him the next year.
“But, it’s not something that would hurt him long term. So, the worst-case scenario, he wouldn’t be able to play for us right away. But I still don’t think that would have changed how I personally felt about taking a guy with the 31st pick with the caliber of player that we took.”
People are talking about Shanahan mentioning “worst case,” but it seems like he is using that for if the 49ers doctors are wrong. All doctors can miss on things, and we saw some questions about it with regard to Colin Kaepernick’s various 2015 injuries that resulted in surgeries. But given the commitment the team is making to Foster, one would hope the doctors went through everything with a fine-tooth comb a whole bunch.
But, as Shanahan said, no one can tell the future. The faith is in the doctors seeing it, and hoping they’ve uncovered every potential issue.