Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster were both first-round picks by the San Francisco 49ers this season, and on Friday, both saw extensive playing time in a 27-17 preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Thomas saw the field for 28 snaps, or 54 percent of the defensive plays on Friday. Only Lorenzo Jerome played more snaps on defense, seeing the field on 33 snaps. Foster played 27 snaps, just one less than Thomas, or 52 percent of defensive plays.
In addition to the extensive playing time for Thomas and Foster, another highly-drafted rookie, Ahkello Witherspoon, played a whole lot. Witherspoon played 28 snaps, same as Thomas and one more than Foster.
Both Foster and Thomas looked good in their time on the field. Thomas notched a quarterback hit and two tackles, but I feel like he got pressure on most of the plays he was on the field. He was fast, had a high motor and I’m surprised he couldn’t seal the deal with a sack or two.
Thomas notably pressured Tyler Bray on the play he threw an interception. He took snaps on the outside and inside of the defensive line.
Foster saw more time against starters, but spent the bulk of his time against backup players as well. He had a pair of tackles and a pass deflection, one that was very, very close to being an interception. He technically started the game, and played both weak-side and middle linebacker.
He also had an important tackle on the goal line, and when you consider the fact that Foster has been playing with a sprained ankle, his play was even more impressive. Foster will likely be looking at the biggest role of those mentioned in this piece, and smart money is on him playing extensively in the next two games.