In this article, I'll be looking at the domino effect of drafting Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds, and how it impacts Reuben Foster's overall status with the team (from an analytical perspective).


Recently, I wrote two features that have relevance to this article on 49ers Webzone, titled: Intervention Specialist Perspective: Reuben Foster's actions can't be condoned; Still needs support and Why NFC West quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Jared Goff are hoping the 49ers don't draft Harold Landry.

There are questions that will soon be answered


One of the following draftee's – if even drafted by the 49ers – will potentially seal Foster's fate with the 49ers, sooner or later. While the other, will act as an insurance policy in case Foster has a setback from keeping his nose clean off the field now or in the future. The question is, what role or impact will Smith or Edmunds play in all this if selected by the 49ers with the ninth overall pick in the NFL draft (assuming the 49ers don't trade down)?

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Looking at Roquan Smith


Smith, the Dick Butkus Award Winner, is a 6' 1", 236-pound linebacker with 32' arms, who ran his 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 4.51 seconds; second fastest at the combine for linebackers. So yes, he's fast and very athletic. Smith, while playing at Georgia the last three years, totaled 252 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss (14 tied for third most in the SEC in 2017), 6.5 sacks (all coming in 2017), three passes defended and three forced fumbles, according to Sports-Reference.com).

Smith is a bonafide leader on the field and in the locker room; he's the alpha and the omega. He can cover with the best of them, has a high football I.Q., and is a no-nonsense tackler who is physical at the point of attack.

He uses his speed to avoid being gobbled up by massive offensive linemen, has some pass rush ability and he's explosive with fluid hips. He can get sideline-to-sideline at the drop of a dime (as seen in the video).

Smith played middle linebacker while at Georgia, but his natural position seems to be at weak side linebacker; aka, the "Will" position. While he's a bit undersized, Smith is an intriguing prospect that could replace Foster if his days are numbered in Santa Clara.

ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former NFL player and front-office executive, is in love with Smith. But will he be there at No. 9? According to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, Smith's stock is rising.

Looking at Tremaine Edmunds


Edmunds is a 6' 5', 250 lbs, freak of nature from Virginia Tech. During his three-year collegiate career, he's amassed 213 tackles, 33 for a loss, 10 sacks (5.5 coming in 2017), one interception, five passes defended and three forced fumbles. Like Smith, Edmunds is also fast and athletic, which he's shown on tape and at the combine where he ran a 4.54-second 40-time.

Edmunds has untapped potential for being just 19 years old (turning 20 next month). He has the pedigree of a Pro-Bowler running in his veins. Edmunds is the son of former two-time Pro Bowl tight end Ferrell Edmunds, who played seven years in the NFL, mostly with the Miami Dolphins.

Don't tell me the 49ers don't like this connection here (see family coaching tree, Father-Mike and Son-Kyle Shanahan).

Edmunds has sideline-to-sideline speed, lateral quickness, efficient tackling skills, and shoots gaps with conviction and explosion. He also has good agility and physicality. He's also a violent disruptor while displaying coverage/pass rush ability; something that the 49ers covet (as seen in the video).

Looking at the Domino Effect of drafting Smith or Edmunds


The 49ers like speed, athletism, versatility, size, youth/upside and most importantly, bang for their buck. And if you didn't want to move on from Foster just yet, who would you draft out of the two? Tremaine Edmunds.

Why? Because of Edmunds' versatility/experience of playing the middle linebacker; aka, the "MIKE" position. The 49ers could attempt to satisfy all concerned parties regarding Foster's legal troubles, by selecting Edmunds.

Important to also note: Based on his size, Edmunds is an ideal fit for the strong side linebacker position (aka, the "SAM" position), where the 49ers technically have an opening. Last year's starter at the "SAM" position, Eli Harold, is getting an opportunity at the "LEO" position, to take advantage of his athletic ability, speed, and to help generate a better pass rush in 2018.

The 49ers recently signed middle linebacker Brock Coyle to a three-year extension worth $8.4 million (according to Spotrac.com). And the 49ers added more depth at the linebacker position with the addition of Korey Toomer, and already have in-house candidate Elijah Lee at their disposal.

All have experience playing the "MIKE" position.

If you didn't want to move on from Foster, you've covered all bases here and while Foster serves his much-anticipated suspension for violating the NFL's code of conduct policy. The 49ers would also hope to get some added pass rush out of Edmunds on third downs.

Is Edmunds capable of generating double-digit sacks and consistent pressure, year in and year out? Is he a boom or a bust?

Does Edmunds address the 49ers' true No. 1 need of an elite level prospect that's a pure pass-rusher? These are the questions in play. 2018 NFL Draft: No Pass-Rusher, "No Rings."

If you wanted to move on from Foster, who would you draft?


Roquan Smith. Why? Two is company and three's a crowd. Smith is a natural weak side linebacker, who is more than capable of playing middle linebacker at a high level obviously.

The 49ers also have last year's free agent acquisition (another weak side linebacker) in Malcolm Smith, who signed a five-year, $26.5 million contract with San Francisco (including $12 million guaranteed and a $7 million signing bonus).

Neither Foster, Malcolm Smith, nor Roquan Smith are ideal fits to play the "Sam" position based on size, body type, etc. However, both Smiths could co-exist on the field together, if you were to move on from Foster.

Based on Malcolm Smith's knowledge of 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's defense, and his speed and athleticism, my guestimation is he would move to the middle linebacker position (which he's played before), while Roquan Smith would occupy the weak side.

Coyle and Toomer would provide quality depth. But are Smith and Edmunds just a smoke screen to the real prospect the 49ers might want to draft? To be continued.

Sequoia Sims: Founder of Niners Live, Content Creator, player breakdown specialist, and Senior Author. The home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, and different perspective, of course.