Broncos Prospect Study: Reuben Foster
One of the best talents in this years draft is Reuben Foster, linebacker out of the University of Alabama. Could we hear his name Draft Day in Denver?
In this year’s draft there are several key defensive targets for 32 teams, however Reuben Foster is extremely unique.
Foster at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds has the versatility of an NFL safety with the intangibles to be a successful linebacker. NFL offenses have evolved with quarterbacks connecting with the tailback out of the backfield more frequently. Defenses have a significant need to adjust to this problem.
The Denver Broncos experienced struggles at inside linebacker last season. Reuben Foster would make an instant impact, in my honest opinion.
During his three years at Alabama, Foster accounted for 120 tackles, 23 for a loss, and seven sacks. To some they may say there isn’t great production when looking at those stats.
Alabama has steamrolled competition year after year which allowed Foster to be out of the game midway through the third quarter.
In the National Championship game, Foster was a man possessed. He tallied 12 tackles and a sack against prolific quarterback DeShaun Watson.
Even though Alabama lost, the world was put on notice: Foster is a gem. Some have called him a “hitman in shoulder pads” due to his reckless abandon on the field.
Unfortunately that term has created concern from coaches regarding his ability to stay healthy. Early in his career at Alabama he suffered numerous stingers. Foster was still recovering from off-season rotator cuff surgery and wouldn’t be ready to perform at the combine.
Fast forward to the NFL Scouting Combine, where Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports first reported that Foster had been sent home following an incident with the medical staff.
His dismissal led to questions concerning his character, however Foster sent NFL teams an apology letter regarding the incident.
While the incident could impact his draft stock, I still see him being a mid first round pick. He could go as late as early in the second round.
Foster’s 6’1″ stature is perfect for reading guards and tackles for run or pass. His weight allows him to be more versatile with covering slot receivers and backs out of the backfield.
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His strength and power create intimidation for inside receivers trying to catch passes across the middle. He has ability to cover from one side of the field to another, which could allow him to play safety on certain downs.
His eyes reading pass/run are top tier, and he never hesitates chasing the flow of the play. Todd Davis struggled in most of these areas last season.
He has the coverage ability of Bobby Wagner and the run stopping prowess of Ray Lewis. This prospect absolutely excites me.
His ability to cover the wheel route would be highly needed against teams like New England and Kansas City. His upside can grow even more if surrounded by defensive playmakers, which Denver has.
Many scouts love his high motor, but believe he relies too much on his speed and athleticism. Sometimes in passing situations he has a tendency to fall for the play action fake.
In run coverage he sometimes over-pursues which allows the tailback to cut inside. These are very fixable traits once he gets to the NFL.
He has encountered many stingers over his Alabama tenure due to sometimes poor tackling technique. Foster has a tendency to put his head down in the wash and this must be fixed if he hopes to have success on Sundays.
I believe that Reuben Foster will be a playmaker in the NFL. His talent and athleticism combined with his tactical field instincts make him a prime candidate to thrive in Denver’s 3-4 defense.
There will be many teams that will want to obtain his services. If Foster is high on Denver’s radar then I believe John Elway could negotiate some deals to move up.
What are your thoughts Broncos Country?