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2024 NFL Draft prospect profile: Javon Foster, OL, Missouri

Is Foster a tackle or guard at the NFL level?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 LSU at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2024 NFL Draft isn’t projected to have a particularly strong interior offensive line class. That’s not great news for the New York Giants who could need at least one starting guard for the future, and potentially two.

But one interesting feature of this class is how many tackles there are who might have higher ceilings as guards at the NFL level. Missouri’s Javon Foster is one such tackle, who could stay at tackle and compete for a starting job at the NFL level but he might have a much higher ceiling at guard.

Prospect: Javon Foster (76)
Games Watched: vs. LSU (2023), vs. Kentucky (2023), vs. Georgia (2023), vs. Tennessee (2023)

Measurables

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 320 pounds

Strengths

  • Size
  • Play strength
  • Athleticism (compared to guards)
  • Downhill run blocking

Foster is a powerful offensive lineman with good competitive toughness.

He has a somewhat squat build for an offensive tackle, but carries his 320 pounds well. Foster has obvious strength in his upper and lower body and uses that power well in both pass protection and run blocking. Foster is able to easily anchor, or re-anchor, against bullrushes, and doesn’t give much ground. He also has plenty of strength to control defenders once latched on. Foster plays with a wide base and is able to sink his hips and play with good pad level to maximize his play strength.

That’s particularly evident when blocking downhill and he shines in man-gap and inside zone rushing plays. He also has enough foot speed to play as a pulling tackle, and gets into position well when running across the formation.

Foster does a good job of sustaining his blocks in pass protection and has very heavy hands. His punch tends to jolt defenders, disrupting their rushes and giving him time to latch on. He doesn’t tend to be surprised by games along the line of scrimmage or by delayed blitzes.

Weaknesses

  • Lateral movement
  • Lower-body fluidity
  • Hand placement

Foster isn’t the type of slow-footed tackle whose future must be at guard in the NFL. He has adequate movement skills to match up with most collegiate edge defenders. However, he definitely struggled when faced with real speed off the edge and those struggles could be magnified at the NFL level.

He doesn’t quite have the lower-body fluidity or quickness to mirror speed rushers off the edge. That can lead to his arms flailing to compensate and poor hand placement. Not only does that make him vulnerable to technically sound rushers, but it could open him up to holding calls at the NFL level if his hands land outside opponents’ framework at an inopportune time.

Foster’s athletic limitations also show up when he’s on the play-side of outside zone runs. He can lose his leverage and his balance can be suspect on those plays, leading to stumbles or missed blocks. He can also lose his leverage on longer plays when he’s forced to mirror for an extended time.

Game Tape

(Foster is Missouri LT number 76)

Projection

Javon Foster projects as a guard with starting upside at the NFL level. It’s difficult to say what his absolute ceiling is if he’s changing positions, but he has traits that would work well on the offensive interior.

Teams that use a high incidence of outside zone plays in their rushing scheme might look elsewhere, but Foster might be better able execute those schemes as a guard.

Foster has good play strength and is a tough and aggressive blocker who seems to relish contact. He’s a good run blocker, particularly in downhill schemes, and has plenty of power to hold up against defensive tackles. Foster also has the movement skills to be a good pulling guard, and while he might not be athletic enough to be a full-time tackle at the NFL level, he’s plenty athletic for a guard. Foster could also provide emergency depth at offensive tackle, though it might not be an ideal situation for a team.

Does he fit the Giants?
Yes. Foster could compete for, and potentially win, a starting guard job.

Final Word: A solid Day 2 pick