Reuben Foster – Senior – LB – Alabama – 6’1” 228 lbs. - Hometown: Auburn, AL
Career Stats: 223 Tackles, 24 Tackles for Loss, 7 Sacks, and 9 Passes Defended.
A 5-star recruit from Auburn, Alabama, Reuben Foster decided against attending his hometown school of Auburn University. Instead, two days before his signing day in 2013, he declared he would attend the University of Alabama.
In Madden terms, Reuben Foster would be my perfect 99 rating in each category for a linebacker. The perfect inside linebacker with size, intelligence, speed, aggression, and power. That, to me, is what Reuben Foster can become.
One key trait for a linebacker is the ability to read plays before they develop. Sean Lee is the perfect example of a linebacker who can read and dissect plays before they even begin. Reuben Foster has the same quality as Lee, shown in the clip below.
Foster reads the play and dissects which hole the running back will run through. He beats the blocker to the spot, and finishes by busting through the hole and makes the tackle.
Impressively, Reuben Foster dropped 15 pounds coming into his senior season at Alabama. His goal: becoming faster and more explosive. This new-found speed allowed him to make more tackles in the backfield, as well as sideline to sideline. Also, he used his speed to outrun blockers in the open field or run around them to avoid a block.
Speed also helps Foster in coverage. At Alabama, Foster was asked to cover running backs out of the backfield, when they lined up outside, or in the slot. He has the speed to travel with his man down the field and the quickness to cover his man underneath.
Another reason why Foster is so successful is his power and aggression. He uses his power to get off blockers by pushing them away from himself or by running full speed into blockers, knocking the blocker backwards while freeing himself up to make the tackle or disrupt the play.
NFL teams want linebackers who hit with violence and force. Foster’s violent playing style stems from a combination of speed, aggression, and power. He is an enforcer and intimidator in the middle of the field. Below is one of many examples to choose from that displays the force with which Foster hits with. USC running back Justin Davis absolutely gets destroyed on this play.
However, because he does go for the big hit, there are times he over pursues the tackle and misses. You never want to take his aggression away, but he must find that happy median between the big hit and the sure tackle.
From the linebacker position, Foster is not a great blitzer. Although he is fast and can chase down QB’s running outside the pocket, he doesn’t have a counter for an offensive lineman staying in front of him.
Below is an example of Foster blitzing and the offensive lineman staying in front of him. Foster does not offer a counter; therefore, he is blocked and rendered useless for that play. At the next level, he should be used in coverage more than blitzes.
In conclusion, Reuben Foster has all the traits a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player must possess. There is nothing that suggests Foster should fall outside of the top 10 in this draft. Immediately, Foster will upgrade his new team's linebacker position.
My player comparison for Reuben Foster is Cowboys own Jaylon Smith before his injury. Although, Smith was a little more athletic and Foster is a little more powerful, they both are the highest caliber of linebackers.
Cowboy fans, we will not be drafting Reuben Foster this year, but we might be getting a player like him if Jaylon Smith recovers and is the player he was in college. Emphasis on the IF.
Aaron will be profiling the top draft prospects this spring so be sure to follow him on Twitter @AaronBunten.