The San Francisco 49ers head into their offseason workout program next week, and for the time being, linebacker Reuben Foster remains a part of the team. He has been formally charged with felony domestic violence, along with two other felonies and a misdemeanor, but the 49ers are waiting to see, “what is learned through the legal process.”
In the meantime, the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft is now just under two weeks away. The 49ers have a host of needs, and it has resulted in an assortment of picks in mock drafts. SB Nation put together their annual mock draft database, and it is not surprising that the top selection for the 49ers only shows up in 24 percent of mock drafts. Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is up top, followed by Florida State safety Derwin James (15 percent), and then Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (12 percent). “Other” leads the way with 48 percent.
The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office has been investigating Reuben Foster for two months now, since his arrest in February. We don’t know what Foster has told the 49ers or what their own investigation has determined. We don’t know what the charges mean as far as what the 49ers were expecting, but given comments by John Lynch and Jed York, I would not be surprised if this caught them at least a little bit off guard.
The mock draft process is often playing catch-up with reality for front offices. I imagine most people here would not be surprised if over the next week we see mock drafts make a drastic shift to the linebacker position. Whether the 49ers were already thinking of it or not, I would be surprised if Tremaine Edmunds of Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith were not at the top of the mock draft database within the next week. I could see them splitting the vote, but they will both be high up, likely ahead of anybody else.
Whether the 49ers end up adding either of them remains to be seen, but it has to at least be on their radar. Even if this ends with charges getting dropped and the team keeping Foster, his status is uncertain. He faces a potential NFL suspension of six games or more, and given his history, it’s not like he’s a sure thing to avoid trouble in the future.
And so, as is so often the case, big news is going to result in a sizable shake-up in mock drafts between now and April 26th.