Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Preview: Reuben Foster

Reuben Foster Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Reuben Foster Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Linebacker Reuben Foster was once a top five player, and now might fall into the Cardinals’ lap

Any team that needs a quarterback is going to generate tons of buzz about which passer they’ll take. Fans and analysts all begin looking at system, history, and value to predict who they should take to play under center.

Lost in all the furor, though, is the fact that the Arizona Cardinals need a linebacker just as badly as they need a quarterback. Karlos Dansby was signed in place of Kevin Minter, but the veteran is no sure thing, and definitely isn’t a long-term solution. They’re in need of a young, talented inside linebacker, and it’s pretty urgent.

At one point, former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster was one of the top five players in the entire draft. His talent was obvious to anyone who saw him play, and watched him make play after play. Something happened on the way to the draft though.

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The first blip on the radar came at the combine, where he was sent home after an altercation with a nurse. This, naturally, brought up questions about his attitude. The big hit came more recently. Last week, word came out that Foster failed a drug test at the combine. This was in the form of a diluted sample. Failing a drug test is potentially very damaging to his draft stock, especially when combined with attitude questions, and shoulder injury concerns.

There is a lot to like about Foster too. He’s a heat-seeking missile on defense, going sideline to sideline, exploding into ball carriers. He’s a sure tackler, and is solid in coverage as well. Talent-wise, he’s easily the best linebacker in the draft.

The worries with Foster have certainly affected his draft stock. Many now believe that he’ll fall out of the first round completely. If so, the Cardinals might be chomping at the bit to grab him in round two. If he falls to them, he’s an instant upgrade alongside Deone Bucannon, and potentially a consistent All Pro. Off the field concerns make him risky, but if they can get him in round two, the Cardinals pretty much have to take him.