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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports


Round 1, Pick 31: 49ers select Alabama LB Reuben Foster

Apr 27, 2017 at 8:40 PM--


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With the 31st overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. The 49ers traded back into the first round to select the linebacker, giving up their original second-round pick (34) and the fourth-round pick (111) that they acquired via a trade with the Chicago Bears earlier in the round. The trade took place between the 49ers and the division rival Seattle Seahawks.

As a senior at Alabama in 2016, Foster finished with 115 tackles, 13 for losses, and five sacks. He was awarded the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation's best linebacker. The 6-foot, 229-pound Foster had 211 tackles, 23 of which were for a loss, seven sacks, and nine passes defended in three years with Alabama.

Following the season, Foster underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. It was an injury that prevented the linebacker from participating in the NFL Scouting Combine. He is confident that he is fully healed.


"I'm 100 percent," Foster said. "I feel like I can go out there again and just do something right now. I'll be ready before like OTAs, limited, and training camp I'll be full-go."

Regardless of his injury, Foster likely would not have participated in the drills at the combine anyhow. He engaged in a heated argument with a hospital worker, which resulted in the linebacker being sent home early.

More recently, Foster revealed that his urine sample obtained in Indianapolis during the combine was reported as dilute, which many NFL teams treat as a failed drug test. When asked specifically about the sample, Foster explained that he was sick the week prior to the combine and that he drank an excessive amount of water. He believed the illness was associated with food poisoning.

Foster ranked as the eighth-best player available in ESPN analyst Mel Kiper's big board. "Foster is a big-time inside linebacker who has the talent and college tape of a top-five pick," wrote Kiper. "He runs sideline to sideline and is a complete player."

NFL.com projected that Foster would be selected in round 1 of the NFL Draft.

Pro Football Focus stats to know: Led all FBS linebackers in run-stop percentage in the 2016 season.



Lance Zierlein of NFL Media, who compares Foster to Bobby Wagner, had the following to say in his scouting report:

"Foster is a vicious hitter with elite playmaking range and an ability to toggle between 225 and 240 pounds. Athleticism gives him cover ability that former teammate Reggie Ragland never possessed. Has Pro Bowl potential as a 3-4 inside linebacker or a 4-3 weak-side linebacker, but concerns over his medical history could be a consideration, according to some teams."

Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst had the following to say in his scouting report:

"Foster was an impact player on Alabama's outstanding defense and a linebacker who did the little things well. Once healthy he should immediately impact a team at the next level and quickly find his way into the lineup as a starter."

Pro Football Focus had the following to say in their draft analysis:

"Foster is a complete prospect, and should be considered among the elite players in this draft class. He graded well in all three phases of defense, most notably posting the highest overall and run-defense grades among FBS LBs, as well as the eighth-highest pass-coverage grade among LBs with at least 300 coverage snaps played. His athleticism is evident in all phases, as he has the quickness and change of direction needed to be an effective pass-rusher (he posted 22 total pressures in 2016 on just 93 rushes). He excels in all forms of coverage, but most notably in man, as his speed and closing ability allow him to consistently stay with backs and TEs and make plays on the ball. Against the run, he does an excellent job of staying square to the line of scrimmage, which allows him to move laterally to the boundary and effectively adjust to cutbacks. He demonstrates the ability to take on blockers at the point of attack and either stand them up to clog up the hole or shed them altogether to finish the play. At times, though, Foster will try to run around blocks and not use his hands to set them. While the importance of inside linebackers in the NFL has been, to an extent, lessened by the modern game, Foster's rare ability in all phases means he is worth top-10 consideration."

Measurables


Height: 6-0
Weight: 229 lbs.
Arm length: 32 3/8 inches
Hand length: 10 1/4 inches

NFL Scouting Combine


N/A

College Statistics


Year G Tkl Loss Sk PD Int
2013 10 12 1.0 0.0 0 0
2014 11 22 2.0 1.0 0 0
2015 15 73 8.0 2.0 9 0
2016 15 115 13.0 5.0 2 0
Totals 51 222 24.0 8.0 11 0


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