Even after his dismissal from the 2017 NFL Combine, Alabama product Reuben Foster's raw talent is still enough to become an early first-round selection.
For top prospects, the NFL Combine sets the stage for them to showcase their talents and prove to NFL teams that they are worthy of early selection. Once their collegiate careers end, the prospects train specifically for the Combine drills and interviews they have with teams.
Unfortunately for Reuben Foster, who is one of the best linebackers of the Nick Saban-era at Alabama to enter the NFL Draft, was dismissed from this year's Combine before his scheduled meetings after an argument broke out during his medical examination.
Having recently undergone shoulder surgery, Foster wasn’t expected to participate in drills but was there there to meet with over a dozen teams in Indianapolis.
Between the lines, Foster is a hard-hitting inside linebacker that commands respect due to his top-dog mentality. He has tremendous playmaking range as a linebacker and finished his senior season with 115 tackles (13 for loss) and five sacks.
Shortly after his dismissal, Foster sent an apology to all 32 teams and expressed his availability to meet with teams at the Alabama Pro Day.
The bad headlines could affect his draft stock which is why he has been moving down in many experts mock draft but at the Alabama pro day, Foster got high praise and was defended by his former coach.
“If you’re looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Reuben’s going to be very, very good,” Saban said. “And I know that Reuben wishes that he would have responded maybe in a little more positive way. But I think other people could have responded and been a little more respectful to him as well.”
Foster has a ton of raw talent and potential, which is why many are comparing him to the likes of Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly. The powerful linebacker has underrated covering skills and depending on which scheme he is drafted into, he can play any linebacker position.
With the NFL Draft just a few weeks away, many are still wondering if his draft stock will take a hit. Teams might be concerned with his medical issues more than the Combine incident, but one thing is for sure, Foster has all the talent to be an instant upgrade for any team that is looking for linebacker help.
NFL.com’s Charley Casserly doesn’t think it should be a problem if Foster is honest during his meetings with teams.
“He doesn't have a history of misbehavior that I know of,” wrote Casserly. “So if he's open and honest with team brass about what went down -- and gives a compelling explanation of why it won't happen again -- this shouldn't affect his NFL draft stock.”