Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster missed six games during his rookie 2017 season, but his time on the field was enough to convince most experts that the youngster was a budding NFL star. He finished the season with 72 combined tackles and a pass defensed through his 10 game appearances.

Foster also finished the season with the team's highest player grade (90.7), according to Pro Football Focus, just edging second-year defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (90.4). The rookie was the fourth-highest graded linebacker behind only Bobby Wagner (Seahawks), Luke Kuechly (Panthers), and Lavonte David (Buccaneers). He was the highest-graded rookie linebacker this past season.

Foster was the only 49ers rookie to make Mel Kiper's 2017 All-Rookie Team. The ESPN draft analyst had the following to say about the selection of Foster to his NFL rookie All-Star squad:

"Foster played only 10 games, but he was a menace in the middle of the 49ers' defense. He had seven tackles for loss and 72 total tackles. He was one of my favorite 2017 prospects and my top-ranked inside linebacker. He's the reason the 49ers parted ways with longtime stalwart NaVorro Bowman earlier this season. Beckwith had a good year, but Foster played at an All-Pro level when he was on the field."

Foster was ranked eighth on Kiper's final pre-draft Big Board back in April.

Defensive end Solomon Thomas, who was selected with the third-overall pick, had made Kiper's mid-season All-Rookie team but failed to make the new list, which accounts for the whole season.