After trading down at the top of Round 1 Thursday night, the 49ers later traded up to get into the bottom of the round and selected Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster, considered one of the top players at his position in this draft.
The 49ers traded their No. 2 pick in Round 2, the 34th overall, and a fourth-round pick, the 111th overall, to the Seahawks for the right to select Foster.
It was the second of two bold moves by GM John Lynch Thursday night. The rookie GM of the 49ers maneuvered to get defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and three extra picks early, then nabbed Foster, who could play inside or outside in the team’s new 4-3 alignment.
Foster had slid from the top of the first round to the bottom because of questions about a shoulder injury. If Foster is healthy, the 49ers land a quality player higher than his value at No. 31 overall.
In 15 games last season for the Crimson Tide, Foster, at 6-foot-1 and 236 pounds, was a tackling machine. He was in on 115 stops, with 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. The 49ers have had trouble stopping the run the past few seasons, and Foster could be a key addition to making the defense better.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had high praise for Foster after the selection.
“He reminds me of (All-Pro) Luke Kuechly when I watch tape,” wrote Mayock. “He’s an immediate impact player. Sideline to sideline, he will light you up. I’m amazed that he’s fallen to this point. … San Francisco better be right on him with that shoulder.”