Fearless Predictions: Thomas and Foster Win AP CO-DROY

Niners live is at it yet again, and this time, like many times before, it’s not bold, it’s fearless predictions: Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster will win the Associated Press CO-Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

 

On April 27, 2017 the San Francisco 49ers did the unthinkable and the unimaginable ladies and gentlemen, when they netted two of the most dominate top players in the entire 2017 draft class, arguably, at their positions. Yes indeed, they actually did it with conviction. And you know Niners Live was on the scene, of course, to cover how it all went down; 2017 NFL Draft: The San Francisco 49ers Select DE Solomon Thomas and 2017 NFL Draft: The San Francisco 49ers Select ILB Reuben Foster.

In fact, I’m getting chills writing this article as I speak and flow out loud about the endless possibilities of this defense. The “Top 10 Fearless Predictions“, to be exact, haha…. Ok, back to the two dog mentality players that we’ve respectively asked general manager John Lynch for, recently on Niners Live. He obviously didn’t disappoint the 49er faithfuls….

Can I take you back for a second? Or ok, maybe a minute, please? In the last three decades in the NFL, how many 49er players have won Defensive Rookie of the Year? I’ll wait…… Ok, give up? The answer is (three) DT, Dana William Stubblefield in-1993), DT, Bryant Young in-1994) and LB, Patrick L. Willis in -2007). Now, what if I told you that going back the last three decades roughly 25 out of the 30 players that have won the award have been LB’s and DT/DL combined. Would you believe me? And now imagine having both Thomas and Foster on one team together at the same time within the same rookie 2017 season, can you see it? I’m waiting…… Are your eyes wide open?

The defensive land of opportunities: 

Thomas and Foster are going to start right out of the gate barring some unforeseen injury or setback to a shoulder recovery concerning Foster or freakish injury to Thomas, but let’s play the (If) game, shall we? Ok, let’s say these two stay healthy for the entire 2017 season. It’s Niners Live’s Fearless Predictions that both win the Associated Press CO-Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

How could that be even possible? 

You had to ask that question, didn’t you? Again, for the record, if you didn’t already know, now you do. This is Niners Live. Foster, who won the Dick Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, will be expected to play the (WILL/Weakside) linebacker position (between guard and the tackle ala the A-Gap) where he can use his “fearless striker” and freakish athletic ability to be free to make plays and wreak havoc all over the field.

Note: Comparison’s at a glance:

Carolina Panthers very own Luke Kuechly was the last LB to win DROY back in 2012 when he started a full 16 games played while accounting for 103 total combined tackles, one sack, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and eight passes defense. Foster’s idol, the great 49er (LB) P-Willis, who back in 2007 when he won DROY, amassed 135 tackles combined, four sacks, two forced fumbles and five passes defense. Foster will look to use Kuechly’s 2012 statistics as a fundamental base to start from while setting his real sights on Mr. Willis’ franchise record in tackles as aforementioned for a 49er rookie linebacker. A feat that will surely gain him DROY honors with a host of wrap around statistics included, no doubt.

Foster projected 2017 stats at a glance: 14 games played and started; totaling 112 tackles (15 for losses), four sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions (one going for a touchdown, pick six) and five passes defense. Note: I have Foster missing two games.

And then there’s Mr. “Violent Disruptor” Solomon Thomas who’s expected play right (strong side ala over the tight end) DE (5-technique) on early downs–(1st) and (2nd), and– then on obvious passing downs (3rd down) will kick inside and play the (3-technique) using his speed and quickness to penetrate and apply constant pressure while harassing the opposing quarterbacks in the NFC WEST and the National Football League.

Los Angeles Rams star DT Aaron Donald, who Thomas has been compared to by some experts such as Rob Rang of CBSsports.com, won the DROY in 2014 when he started 12 of the 16 games he played while amassing 37 combined tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defense. Donald will be the benchmark for Thomas to reach or surpass to obtain DROY honors.

Thomas projected 2017 stats at a glance: 16 games played all starts, totaling 75 tackles (20 for losses), 10 sacksthree forced fumbles, two passes defense and one fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Fearless Prediction close alert:

The 49ers have had one of the worst defenses in the NFL the past two years if not the worst (2015) and (2016), respectively. Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster will put a stop to this negative downward trend (NO MORE) horrendous defense in 2017. And because Niners Live fully expects the defense to drastically improve as aforementioned; with Thomas and Foster being new rookie additions to this defensive unit they’ll get national notoriety and a bulk of the credit for the vast turnaround and therefore solidifying their CO-Defensive Rookie of the Year campaigns.

Recent 49er news:

Reuben Foster Expected to Participate in Training Camp Despite Shoulder Injury (via BleacherReport).

As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Editor Niners Live.