With the 31st pick in the first round, the San Francisco 49ers decided on Alabama LB Reuben Foster to be a future anchor for their defense. Most of the press regarding Reuben in the lead up to the draft has centered around potential shoulder issues, an incident at the hospital and a diluted drug test, which is a shame. As far as we know, Reuben had no disciplinary issues at Alabama and by all accounts was an exemplary teammate. He was also remarkably durable.
Oh, and he is pretty good at football too.
Foster is a perfect example of the culture Saban has created at Alabama. He signed as the top-ranked ILB and #7 overall player in he 2013 class. To be frank, he was physically ready to play and would have been an instant starter just about anywhere else, but decided to come to Alabama with a loaded depth chart in front of him. He ended up playing a bit role in his first season, then second fiddle to Trey DePriest and Reggie Ragland before finally getting his opportunity to lead in 2016.
He did not disappoint.
The reigning Butkus Award winner, Reuben is a tenacious hitter with the ability to take over games. He led a defensive charge in the SEC Championship Game on a night when the offense had a horrible time getting anything going. After dropping weight going into his senior season to play at around 230, he probably projects as more of a Will linebacker in the NFL, the kind of guy who is free to run all over the field and make plays. He is a holy terror as a pass rusher, with a particular knack for finding lanes inside, and is strong in coverage as well.
The 49ers are getting a good one who should have a long, productive career.