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John Lynch defends picking Reuben Foster despite character concerns

SAN FRANCISCO – Draft Day one for John Lynch and company went like a dream.

First they traded down one pick with the Chicago Bears, acquired multiple high draft picks, and drafted the player they would have taken at No. 2 even if they hadn’t moved back in Solomon Thomas. They followed that up by trading back into the first round and picking Reuben Foster, whom if Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are to be believed, was the third player on their draft board, right behind Thomas.

Foster was widely regarded as one of the best talents in the entire draft.

At 6’1″, 228 lbs Foster registered 222 tackles in his four year career at University of Alabama, was named First-Team All-America by the Associated Press and won the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker.

But Foster dropped to the bottom of the first round due to character concerns. During the combine he got into a ‘heated altercation’ with a hospital worker at the NFL Draft. He also tested positive for a diluted urine sample at the combine, which under NFL rule is treated like a positive test.

Lynch said he was aware that other teams had concerns about Foster’s character, but the 49ers did not.

“I would anticipate people maybe questioning some of his character, but I will tell you his character is what drew us to him,” Lynch said at a news conference he held alongside Kyle Shanahan. “When you start talking football with this young man he lights up a room. And he’s a good kid. I believe in the kid.

“He’ll be a great player for this organization for a long time.”


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