Ryan Mink has a very enthusiastic article out at BaltimoreRavens.com in which he expresses a high hope that the Ravens can snag the best inside linebacker in the Draft— who happens to be named Reuben Foster. The only problem is, in my opinion, if you want Foster you’re going to have to move up big-time to get him.
Foster is really, really good and a potential difference-maker in any team’s middle defense, especially the Ravens’. The rest of the league is on to Foster, too.
For some strange reason, NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah (who used to scout for the Eagles) thinks Foster could still be on the Board when the Ravens pick at #16 next Thursday night:
“I think there’s an outstanding shot,” Jeremiah told The Lounge podcast. “I think Reuben is one of the 10 best players in the draft.”
Jeremiah knows better—as word has been circulating for weeks that the Philadelphia Eagles are among several teams contemplating a trade-up to get Foster. (The Eagles pick at #14 overall.)
As Ryan Mink explains, Baltimore has an open starting position at inside linebacker with the sudden and unexpected retirement of Zachary Orr, who led the team in tackles last year before finding out he had a congenital back/spine condition.
I think I’d rather count on Foster.
Foster won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker last year, and was a finalist for the Bednarik Award, which is given to the nation’s top college defender. As a senior, he led the Alabama Crimson Tide with 115 tackles, including 13 for loss and five sacks.
He’s got it all—speed, smarts, toughness, perimeter awareness, outstanding pursuit,even pass coverage capability.
“What [the Ravens] do better than everybody else, historically, is they don’t get caught up in the need and they’re going to take the best player available,” Jeremiah said. “I have to believe that if Reuben Foster got there [at #16 overall], he’d be the highest player on their board. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t. If he were to slide down that far, I think that slide would end right there.”
But that’s the thing—Foster will not slide to #16. In fact, if you ask me, he is the Best Player Available at position #8.
CSN’s Charley Casserly said Foster compares to C.J. Mosley, but could be drafted higher than Mosley was (# 17) because “he’s a little better in coverage.”
Ryan Mink does point out what could send Foster down some draft boards is he was sent home early from the NFL Scouting Combine after getting into a heated verbal altercation with a hospital worker during medical checks. He reportedly grew impatient waiting around.
If there are issues with Foster’s attitude, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome would certainly be in the know. The Alabama alum is still good friends with Head Coach Nick Saban and a huge fan of the program. Earlier this month, Newsome said the combine incident did not change where Foster ranked on the Ravens’ draft board.