The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft is Tuesday, and we have another big name making his plans official. Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, winner of the 2017 Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker and viewed by many as a potential top ten pick, announced he will forego his senior season and enter the Draft.
The San Francisco 49ers spent a first round pick on Reuben Foster last season, with the hope that he could become the answer in the middle for a long time to come. He still could, but his marijuana arrest raises a question of his future. It’s just one arrest, but given some of the questions that led to him slipping to the end of the first round, it’s something to consider.
But even if Foster is good to go moving forward, and is the 49ers middle linebacker for the next decade, does the team consider Roquan Smith as a potential running mate? The 49ers found a ton of success with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman next to each other. Maybe Foster and Smith could be that dynamic pairing for the next five to seven years?
The 49ers will have Malcolm Smith returning to action after tearing his pectoral muscle last summer during training camp. He was one of the bigger financial commitments the 49ers made in free agency, with plans on starting him next to NaVorro Bowman. A season later, we likely will see him starting next to Reuben Foster, unless the 49ers decide to go even younger at the position.
My guess is we don’t see the 49ers invest their high first in Roquan Smith. However given Foster’s recent arrest, it will be interesting to see how the 49ers address the position, even if just for depth purposes.