Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Peter King describes the Reuben Foster selection from the 49ers’ perspective

May 1, 2017 at 3:54 PM--

In case you have been under a rock (or at work) all of Monday and somehow missed reading Peter King's fantastic article at The MMQB about the experience within the 49ers draft room, we highly recommend that you stop doing whatever you are doing, possibly risk getting fired, and give it a read. The article has generated a ton of buzz and offers an unexpected inside look at what exactly went down during the 49ers' entire draft process. King was invited to document the first draft by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.

By now, you have probably also heard 49ers rookie linebacker Reuben Foster share the story of John Lynch calling to tell him that he was being selected by the 49ers – and then Foster hanging up on the New Orleans Saints, who were about to draft him. It was a story that made Bay Area media erupt in laughter.

King's article shared the story from the other side of the phone – from the 49ers' perspective. In the 49ers draft war room, there was talk of selecting Foster with the team's third pick if the Chicago Bears selected Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. The 49ers ended up getting Thomas at three and Foster at 31, both of who were among the top three on their draft board.

After trading with Chicago and dropping one spot to three, the 49ers selected Thomas. Then they waited. Lynch didn't feel that Foster would get past the Cincinnati Bengals at nine. Shanahan thought the Bengals would pass on Foster but that the linebacker would not make it past the Baltimore Ravens at 16. Foster began to freefall.

That's when the 49ers desperately started trying to figure out a way to trade back up high enough to select Foster. Lynch said that he felt like they called every team in the bottom half of the first round, including the division rival Seattle Seahawks. As described in detail within King's article, general manager John Schneider was really making the 49ers sweat it out, even putting 49ers chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe on hold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had made their pick at number 30. Seattle was on the clock. The team at 32, the New Orleans Saints, were ready to select Foster. In fact, they already had him on the phone. With 80 seconds left on that clock, the Seahawks agreed to the trade and the 49ers made the move to select Foster.

That's when Lynch called his new linebacker and his admitted draft crush. "REUBEN!" Lynch said on the phone. "John Lynch with the 49ers! Ready to be a 49er?"

The 49ers turned in the selection card and the 30 or so people in the draft room erupted in joy. Lynch was still on the phone with Foster, trying to be heard amid the celebration.

On the other side of the phone, Foster was disheartened. He was watching the draft on television and wasn't aware of the 49ers' move, thinking they were still sitting at 34. "It's too late man," Foster, who loved the 49ers and desperately wanted to join the team, told Lynch. "You're the 34th pick. New Orleans is right around the corner and they are about to come get me."

Lynch revealed in a press conference on Thursday that he responded, "No, we're taking you."

Back in the 49ers draft war room, those in the room watched the television coverage as someone discussed Foster's surgically repaired shoulder. Lynch yelled across the room to his chief medical officer, Jeff Ferguson: "You guys worried about his shoulder?"

"What shoulder?!" Ferguson yelled back. The 49ers medical staff had already examined Foster's shoulder and felt that it was fine.

"That's the most electric day I've had in 17 years working for this organization," Marathe told King.

And that's just a small portion from the article by King. Be sure to give it a read.

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