LB Reuben Foster, Alabama

6’1” – 228 lbs. – 4.65e

Began his collegiate career in a reserve/special-teams role, then stepped into the starting lineup as a junior. Capped off his collegiate career by winning the Butkus Award as a senior. Weighed 244 pounds in his first season at Alabama, but has lost over fifteen pounds since. Relatively small compared to a typical Nick Saban linebacker; looks like more of a strong safety or weakside linebacker. Lines up at weak inside linebacker in the Tide’s three-man fronts, and stays on the field when the teams goes to their sub package, shading over bunched receivers at times. Was asked to handle some diverse responsibilities: defending the run, blitzing, and playing in space. Very athletic, with a high motor and sideline-to-sideline range; able to make plays in backside pursuit. Has solid instincts which help him flow to the ball. Will generally try to avoid blockers rather than taking them on, which can cause him to take some difficult angles to the ball, but usually does a nice job of navigating traffic and putting himself in position to make tackles. Not afraid to step into the hole and create congestion against the running game, but isn’t overpowering at the point of attack. Has a nice closing burst and can generate some pop on impact, but will neglect his wrap tackling fundamentals from time to time, especially when other players are in the area; more of a missile. Rushes both off the edge and on inside blitzes, with the closing speed to finish his rushes with sacks; usually gets pressure because he’s been schemed open or found an open lane to the quarterback, rather than by beating blockers in one-on-one situations. Often asked to play in space, with both man and zone responsibilities; projects as an every-down linebacker. Has enough speed and fluidity to carry tight ends down the field on seam routes, or pick up receiving options running shallow crosses or banana routes. Has light feet and sound instincts in zone. A very athletic and aggressive linebacker with the ability to contribute in a variety of different ways, Foster is well-suited to the modern game and brings two years of experience in Nick Saban’s pro-style defense. His movement skills are also complimented by good instincts which put him in position to make plenty of plays, although his tackling fundamentals leave something to be desired, and he might be smaller than some teams like. Would probably be best if allowed to run to the ball behind a four-man line.

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