Saints called to welcome Reuben Foster to the team, but the 49ers drafted him first
The Saints thought they had Foster wrapped up, but the 49ers swooped in
One of the most shocking developments of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft was former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster falling all the way to pick No. 31, where he was selected by the 49ers, who traded up from the top of the second round to get him.
Foster was widely considered the best linebacker in the draft and one of the top few players overall, and there were some mild concerns about his medical tests, a verbal disagreement with a hospital worker at the combine, and a diluted sample test at the combine as well, but he was still expected to be selected in the top half of the first round.
And yet he tumbled down the draft board. Foster tumbled so far that the Saints, who owned the No. 32 pick in the first round, felt good enough that he'd last one more pick that they decided to give him a call welcoming him to the team before they officially came on the clock. It turns out, they jumped the gun just a bit.
Here's the video of Foster describing that exact scenario.
49ers general manager John Lynch described the scene in his post-first round press conference on Thursday night:
When did you find out that you had to get above New Orleans to get to Foster?
JL: "[NFL Network reporter] Steve [Wyche], we were just trying everyone. We were going down the line. I think this is something that we can talk about when Reuben's here, but Reuben thought that because we were at 34, we made a trade at the end with Seattle and when I was talking to him, he said, 'Coach, New Orleans is taking me,' and I said, 'No, we're taking you.' It was hard because it happened late in the process and so, he was really excited when he found out that we had pulled off that trade and we were certainly very excited."
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton did say that they were probably taking Reuben Foster if you guys hadn't. Did you have intel that was suggesting that?
JL: "No. No, just when Reuben told us. He calls everyone coach. Calls me coach too."
The 49ers certainly seem happy about how it all worked out, as many analysts have stated on Friday that they had one of the best first rounds of any team in the league. They came away with what Lynch said were two of the top three players on their board (Lynch said Foster was the pick at No. 3 if the Bears had taken Solomon Thomas after trading up to No. 2) and scooped up some extra draft value through the trade-down as well. Not bad for a night's work.
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