Reuben Foster’s next goal may well come to fruition and-some, if you asked NFL Network analyst Charles Davis.
“This guy could be the Patrick Willis, and I’m not shy about saying that,” Davis said Tuesday on KNBR 1050 before also comparing Foster with Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks.
A Willis-type player is who Foster is aiming to be in his NFL career after the 49ers took him 31st overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“Who wouldn’t want to be like Patrick Willis?” the linebacker said at his introductory press conference. “He played nasty. He played like a savage. He played the game like I want to play it.”
Seeing as that Willis was a seven-time Pro Bowler with the 49ers, that’s a lofty standard. Davis doesn’t think it’s high enough, though, judging by who else he compared Foster with Tuesday.
“Derrick Brooks was phenomenal, able to play the outside ‘backer and make plays there, run down plays — he was a run, chase and hit linebacker,” Davis said. “Well if you watch Reuben Foster, he’s a three-down linebacker who can cover, run, chase and hit. There’s Derrick Brooks.”
Brooks was a Super Bowl winner, the 2002 NFL defensive player of the year and an 11-time Pro Bowler. The former Buccaneers linebacker, who played with 49ers general manager John Lynch, might be a more comparable case than Willis since he was also drafted late in the first round (28th to Tampa Bay in 1995).
Foster going 31st surprised many, including Davis — who saw the Alabama product as a Top 5 talent.
“For him to fall as far as he did and the 49ers to be able manipulate the board, come back and get him at that number… ” Davis said. “Imagine him now, looking at this and thinking, ‘I’m a top 5 player and I’m going down here?’ … It’s gonna be something when he unleashes all that.”