The San Francisco 49ers walked away from the 2017 NFL Draft with a pair of first round picks, trading down from No. 2 to No. 3 to select Stanford defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, and then climbing up from the second round to No. 31 overall to select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.
General manager John Lynch said at the time that Thomas and Foster were the second and third players on the 49ers big board. On Friday, he made an appearance on NFL Network, and had updates on both players.
Lynch managed to both hype up Thomas while also pumping the breaks a bit. He mentioned how Thomas is a little behind because he had to miss the entire offseason workout program. The first day of training camp, “was literally his first day out with us lining up.” Lynch said that while Thomas was a little bit behind in terms of learning the scheme, he has been a quick learner. The team sees his explosive qualities, and, “We think he can be a game-wrecker for years to come.”
Thomas has been working with the second team defensive line thus far. Thomas is playing the strong defensive end role in the base, and defensive tackle in the nickel. He is behind Tank Carradine right now at the end role. However, with DeForest Buckner out with an ankle injury, Thomas has gotten some first team nickel tackle work.
Lynch has been a huge fan of Foster, and he said on Friday that the rookie linebacker has lived up to expectations, “and some.” He has been lining up with the third team, and now has been getting some second team work, but has not complained about being slow-played up the depth chart. Lynch loves that he keeps making plays, and brings “a special energy and magnetism that helps, “lift ... the spirits of everyone on the field.”
It is pretty apparent how much Lynch likes Foster’s game, saying, “it’s gonna be hard to keep him off the field.” However, he emphasized that they are making him earn his role, and he thinks Foster will appreciate a starting job more if is made to earn it, rather than have it handed to him.