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2017 Draft Profile: LB Reuben Foster


LB Reuben Foster, Alabama

Size: 6-foot-0, 229 pounds

2016 stats: 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, two passes defensed

Career stats: 211 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, seven sacks, nine passes defensed

Combine stats: Did not participate


Background: ** Foster was a star at Alabama. He was a unanimous first-team All-American last season after leading Alabama with 115 tackles. He's a ferocious hitter who has a knack for the football, and he thrived in the Crimson Tide's pro style defense. The Ravens have a hole at inside linebacker after Zachary Orr was forced into retirement, and Foster would certainly pair nicely next to fellow Alabama product C.J. Mosley. The concern with Foster is that he's dealt with some off-the-field incidents during the pre-draft process. He was sent home early from the combine after getting into a verbal altercation with a hospital worker, and he also had a diluted drug test at the combine. Those issues may cause Foster to slide in the first round. Ravens General Manger Ozzie Newsome, an Alabama alum, has a good relationship with Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, so he can get an inside scoop about whether Foster's recent mishaps are significant enough to keep Baltimore from drafting him.

Strengths: "Alpha mentality with ferocious hitting style that puts offensive skill positions on alert. Outstanding athlete with springy, reactive feet. Lost 15 pounds in offseason, which gave him more speed and explosiveness. Loose hips and long stride allows him to open and chase immediately. Has elite sideline-to-sideline range. Tough as nails. Brings swagger to a linebacking corps. Never passive and always means it. Willing to take his shots downhill and into gaps. Lands strong warning blows on climbing guards early in the game. Coverage ability is an asset. Logged 10 passes defensed in 2015. Can carry long speed against running backs on wheel routes and nine routes. Has worked to improve tackling technique, which has yielded higher success rate of finishes." – Lance Zierlein

Weaknesses: "At times, Foster appears too athletic and aggressive for his own good. His sharp pursuit angles leave little room for error and, at times, he can get a little too far over his skis, flailing his arms to keep his balance while throttling down to change direction. Savvy quarterbacks can manipulate Foster with their eyes and he'll lose track of receivers around him, closing the gap between them only after the ball is being thrown. While this can result in some big collisions (and passes broken up), Foster can improve his coverage with greater route awareness and patience. To this point, Foster's calling card has been his explosive hits, but he has to be careful about lowering his head when tackling. Further, he remains unpolished as a pass rusher. Foster's power and aggression shine through when rushing the quarterback, but he is largely reliant on a simple bull rush or shoulder dip. Suffered various 'minor' injuries in 2016, including to his arm, knee and head (concussion)." – Rob Rang, CBS Sports

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