This will be the first in a series of pieces in the coming weeks on potential targets for the Redskins in the upcoming NFL draft. Today we examine the fit of Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster.
Reuben Foster – ILB, Alabama
Positives: Foster is a phenomenal athlete, capable of making plays all over the field, both against the run and the pass. He flies to the ball and has shown the consistent ability to make tackles along the sidelines and in the backfield for loss. He cut roughly 20 pounds during his time at Alabama, but this did not hinder his ability to make big hits both on defense and special teams for the Crimson Tide. Foster is a special talent in coverage. He looks more like a strong safety at times with his ability to play man to man on Tight ends and running backs as well as dropping into shallow zones. Foster is one of the most fun to watch defensive prospects in recent memory. He would provide a major upgrade over either Will Compton or Mason Foster for the Redskins.
Negatives: Despite his outstanding athletic traits, Foster does not appear to be a consistent pure tackler. He tends to rely on packing a hard hit at the initial contact, often by launching as opposed to tracking the hips and wrapping hard. This style of play will make plenty of highlight films, but it will lead to missed tackles and penalties against NFL talent. Additionally, there have been concerns expressed about Foster’s injury history; he had a history of stingers and shoulder issues at Alabama. Questions are sure to be raised by the Redskins and other teams about his dismissal from the NFL combine, though the athleticism and potential Reubenj Foster has displayed is likely to outweigh any off the field concerns.
Verdict: With the exception of Ohio State FS Malik Hooker, Reuben Foster may be the best fit for the Redskins in the first round. Unlike Hooker, Foster has the potential to fall to the Redskins at pick #17. If Foster is still on the board when pick #17 rolls around, the Redskins should not hesitate for a moment. While Foster is a raw athlete whose technique needs a bit of refining, he has displayed the traits to succeed on all three downs in the NFL and would provide a much needed injection of youth and energy to the inside linebacker position. He would be a fantastic fit on the Redskins.