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Alabama LB Reuben Foster now a Draft process litmus test

03 SEP 2016: Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) tackles USC Trojans running back Justin Davis (22) off his feet during the game between the USC Trojans and the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire

NFL Draft

Alabama LB Reuben Foster now a Draft process litmus test

As if Reuben Foster didn’t have a rough enough winter. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport has just reported that the Alabama linebacker (and one time consensus top five overall prospect) registered a “diluted” urine sample at the 2017 NFL Combine. Foster has told Rapoport that the test result was a byproduct of food poisoning. The concept? That Foster was ill the week before the Combine, lost a ton of weight due to dehydration and vomiting and then tried to stack as much weight back on as possible in a short amount of time.

JAN 09 CFP National Championship - Clemson v Alabama

TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is tackled by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (29) and Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) in the 3rd quarter of the 2017 College Football National Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide on January 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Clemson defeated Alabama 35-31. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire) Mark LoMoglio

Regardless of whether or not you buy the explanation from Foster, this test results comes within the same 48 hour window that also resulted in Foster getting involved in an altercation with hospital staff that resulted in him being told to pack his bags and head home.

Just this past week, there was some hubbub regarding the medical recheck on Foster’s shoulder; some reports indicating that the end result was “not good”.

That’s a whole lot of hurdles for a player that many feel on film is the most impressive linebacker to come through the Draft process since Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis (count me amongst this group). With the start of the Draft just six days away, we will not need to wait long to see just how much NFL franchises feel the rough stretch for Foster threatens his long term viability as a defensive centerpiece.

On the field, Foster is a missile. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He’s got great football intelligence and finds his way through traffic in the box just fine.

https://twitter.com/NDTScouting/status/832374870470172674

But much like Ole Miss Offensive Tackle Laremy Tunsil last year, we’re going to now find out just how much talent and upside trumps everything else. Foster has had a rough stretch throughout the entire Draft process, from start to finish. With his landing spot out of his own hands and nothing left to do in order to rehabilitate his status, Foster has no choice but to sit back and wait; just like the rest of us.

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Kyle Crabbs

Kyle Crabbs is the founder/Director of Scouting of NDT Scouting Services, a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the lead NFL Draft analyst for the FanRag Sports Network.

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