The San Francisco 49ers had to like what they saw from rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who started and played the entire first half Friday night.
The first-round pick displayed range and compiled two tackles in his preseason debut, a 27-17 win versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Foster also tallied a pass breakup on the first drive of the game. But the rookie took some heat from teammates for not picking off Alex Smith’s pass in the end zone.
“A lot of guys were teasing me about the pass breakup,” Foster said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I could have caught a pick. They were talking about all the picks at practice and I can’t catch one in the game when the lights come on.”
The pass breakup displayed Foster’s ability in coverage on Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris. The linebacker was able to swivel his head around in time to knock down the pass. It would have been an impressive interception if he could have pulled it off. The Chiefs scored a touchdown two plays later.
“I was mad at myself,” Foster said. “I could have caught a pick.”
Foster reportedly has four interceptions during 49ers practices this summer, but the linebacker has never recorded one in a game — not college, high school or pee-wee.
“Never,” he said. “Never in my life.”
Poised to start his rookie season, Foster should have plenty of chances to change that in 2017.