The Redskins got big news on Friday that the NFL won’t be suspending Reuben Foster this fall.
The debate about what should have happened to Foster, who was arrested twice for domestic violence in one calendar year though both cases were thrown out in court, will not be found here.
In the Redskins Park offices, the focus will be on Foster the football player and what he can possibly bring to the field this fall.
With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, the natural question becomes what does Foster’s status mean for the Redskins' draft strategy.
The answer should be obvious: Not much.
Beyond the domestic violence incidents, Foster has also had two other arrests, once with a gun and once with marijuana. Beyond those four police incidents, Foster also got thrown out of the 2017 NFL Combine for a run-in with a medical professional during a physical. And all of that has happened in just two years.
Simply put, it would be foolish to let Foster’s current availability impact overall draft strategy.
The third-year linebacker out of Alabama first needs to prove to the Redskins he can stay out of trouble, then he needs to prove he can stay healthy.
In San Francisco, where Foster was a first-round pick in 2017, he had trouble staying on the field and he suffered a shoulder injury in 2018.
Add durability issues to the off-field questions, and Foster is hardly a sure thing. Not to mention some sloppy tackling while actually on the field for the Niners.
If the Redskins intended to draft an interior linebacker(s) next week, then they absolutely still should.
There is a chance Foster develops and matures and plays great football in 2019 and beyond. Washington bet on that and the tools are there.
But Greg Manusky’s defense doesn’t have great depth or talent at the linebacker position anyway. Zach Brown is gone, and Mason Foster, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons are next on the depth chart. None of those guys will warrant Pro Bowl consideration.
It seems unlikely the Redskins would take a linebacker with the 15th pick, but not impossible. If LSU’s Devin White falls that far, Washington should take him, regardless of Foster’s clearance from the NFL. The Redskins 3-4 scheme requires two inside linebackers on the field, and Foster does not seem like the player to call plays or serve in the “Mike” role. White does.
Later in the draft, the ‘Skins must add more depth at interior linebacker. Brown is gone and inside linebackers are a huge part of special teams play. The team can’t get away from that because Foster did not get suspended.
Talking about Foster the person is incredibly complicated.
Talking about Foster the football player isn’t.
He has size and speed and potential, but far too many question marks to alter draft strategy.
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