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POLL: What if Rueben Foster is available to the Giants at 23?

Alabama linebacker could face draft day slide

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Reuben Foster
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Reuben Foster? To the New York Giants? With the 23rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft? Until the past few days the idea that the consensus best linebacker in the draft and No. 8 overall player on the Big Blue View Big Board would possibly be available when the Giants select on Thursday night seemed ludicrous. Now, though? Well, never say never.

The pre-draft process has not been kind to Foster. A dust-up at the NFL combine got him booted out of Indianapolis before he had a chance to work out. Now, a “diluted” drug test from the Combine has cast more doubt on Foster as the draft approaches.

During a recent conference call, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock opined that Foster could fall a bit, but not as far as the 23rd pick.

“There are some red flags there. I think the combine incident has been wiped clean by almost every team. I think that was way overdone, and the kid should not been sent home. That's my opinion. And most people in the league believe that,” Mayock said

“As far as the diluted sample at the combine, that's always really disappointing. It has to be taken into consideration. I think the shoulder is apparently going to be okay from a re-check perspective. I don't see him sliding all that far. I think he's a top 20 pick all day long in any draft. Could he have been a top 10 pick? He still might be a top 10 pick.”

Others, though, are not so sure.

NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline is another who thinks Foster could be in for a draft day fall.

Reuben Foster has dropped dramatically. The news of his failed/diluted drug test from yesterday was the icing on the cake. One team was ready to take him in the middle of Round 1 but has backed off. I’m told it’s a combination of what’s described as “horrible behavior” as well as concussion issues.

Linebacker, of course, is one of the positions many believe could be a consideration for the Giants in the first round. Jarrad Davis of Florida and Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt are the popular names. Haason Reddick could be in the conversation if he’s still available. Tyus Bowser of Houston and T.J. Watt of Wisconsin might be dark horse possibilities.

What, though, if Foster tumbles to 23?

Chris wrote a Foster prospect profile back in February, before the Combine incident, the drug test and any other speculation about “horrible behavior.” Here is some of what he said:

As a player on the field, Reuben Foster shouldn’t get anywhere near where the New York Giants are drafting.

While off-ball linebackers may slip a bit in the draft, athletic, rangy, versatile, and productive ones tend not to. He isn’t a pure pass rusher, but as his 5 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss indicate, he is perfectly capable of coming downhill and disrupting behind the line of scrimmage.

If there’s a weakness to his game, it is that while he plays a fast and aggressive brand of football, he doesn’t quite seem to trust his instincts. There sometimes seems to be a beat of hesitation while he verifies what he sees before launching into motion. While his athleticism and the quality of his teammates afforded him that beat in college, it might slow him down at the next level. However, it could also go away with more starting experience (only two years of starting experience in college).

If he DOES happen to slip to the Giants, they should absolutely be interested, but they should also be cautious. There is some speculation that his violently explosive hits may have conspired with poor tackling technique to lead to shoulder issues. That will need to be thoroughly investigated by any team that drafts him. However, if he just happens to fall due to the glut of talented edge rushers and defensive backs -- and his medical report comes back without long-term issues -- the Giants would be foolish to not pounce on him.

Valentine’s View

I certainly can’t rule out the Giants selecting Foster if he makes it to them, but I think it is unlikely. They have been shying away from players with red flags in recent years. Go back and look at their last three drafts. You can argue looking at those selections that the Giants haven’t taken a single player with any sort of serious off-the-field concerns since at least 2013.

Never say never, of course, but the Giants have been laser focused on “clean” prospects. As talented as he seems to be, Foster isn’t one.

What is your view?

Vote in the poll and let us know.


Would you select linebacker Reuben Foster at 23 if you were the Giants GM?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Yes, he’s too talented to pass up
    (1019 votes)
  • 43%
    No, there are too many red flags
    (792 votes)
1811 votes total Vote Now