In case there is any doubt the 49ers were a decided “winner” on the first day of the NFL Draft, the players the team landed with the Nos. 3 and 31 overall picks were two of the top three prospects on its board, new GM John Lynch claims.
Those two players: Stanford DE Solomon Thomas and Alabama LB Reuben Foster
"I can tell you right off the bat that what we had on the board was just under 200 players, and in terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players," Lynch said, per ESPN.com. "We were able to do that, and we're thrilled. We're ecstatic. We think these guys have a lot of traits of what we want to be about as a football organization."
As the night began, San Francisco swapped the second and third overall picks with Chicago and also acquired the Bears’ third-round (No. 67 overall) and fourth-round picks (No. 111) this year and their third-round pick in 2018. While the Bears selected QB Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick and the 49ers picked Thomas No. 3, the overwhelming feeling among NFL observers is the 49ers got the far better end of the trade.
Later Thursday evening, with team after team passing on Foster, the 49ers traded up with the Seahawks for the 31st overall pick to snag him.
Lynch, per the San Jose Mercury News, said the Niners started dialing nearly every team in the league to put themselves in position to get Foster.
While Foster tested positive for a diluted urine sample at the NFL Combine, Lynch said, "We were exhaustive in getting to know the kid. It felt genuine. That's something we loved about Reuben is that he's really genuine, he's got a smile that lights up a room, and the way he plays football is special."
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan added of the team’s Thursday-night haul, “When we went into this draft, I felt like we wanted to get whoever we thought were the best players available at the time, but it was also a huge goal of ours to add some more picks. We definitely don’t think we’re just one or two players away. We want to add a nucleus of people.”
As of this Friday morning writing, the 49ers do not have a second-round pick, but do have the second and third picks (66th and 67th overall) in the third round.
“We could not be more happy with the day, and it’s just getting started,” Lynch said Thursday. “We come back tomorrow and we’ve got a lot of picks and we’re looking forward to improving our team tomorrow.”