Reuben Foster was a player some teams were so concerned about that they took him off their draft board this April. The big reason? The former Alabama star linebacker had shoulder surgery that reportedly “didn’t take” and, he could require a second surgery.
The San Francisco 49ers didn’t hesitate to land Foster, however, trading back up into the first round to nab him at No. 31 overall. If he pans out, that move will be seen as a brilliant steal. If his shoulder becomes an issue, then rookie general manager John Lynch will get a bit of egg on his face.
However, the 49ers have maintained they aren’t worried about Foster’s shoulder. Kyle Shanahan recently said the worst-case scenario was that Foster could miss his rookie season. However, he made it clear that’s not expected.
Lynch doubled down on that speaking with SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 9, 2017
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) May 9, 2017
Foster has been under the wing of rookie 49ers coach DeMeco Ryans, a former linebacker and fellow Alabama alum, since he arrived in Santa Clara. The two of them are developing a big brother, little brother relationship the 49ers hope will help Foster to flourish.
“Guys helped me when I was younger,” Ryans said, per nflplayerengagement.com. “I remember in college, guys like Freddie Roach and those guys helped me get started. Then when I got to the league, Kevin Bentley and Morlon Greenwood and Shawn Barber, those older guys, they really reached out and helped, and that’s how it’s always been for me. So the least I could do is pass it on to others.”
The 49ers held Foster out of on-field work during their rookie minicamp. He worked with team trainers rehabbing his shoulder and was at Ryans’ side otherwise. If he’s able to get healthy and makes it onto the field in time for training camp, then the 49ers should feature one of the most impressive young front sevens in the NFL.