Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster’s draft stock just keeps slipping.
First, there’s the issue of his shoulder injury. Second, there’s the issue of him being sent home from the NFL Combine. And now third, as NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported this afternoon, there’s the issue of him failing a drug test at the NFL Combine.
Foster told Rapoport that it was a diluted urine sample, but that’s treated as a positive test by the NFL. Foster said that he was sick leading up to the Combine, believes it was food poisoning, and was trying to stay hydrated by drinking a ton of water, and the result was a diluted test. He found out last month.
Regardless of the reason, however, Foster will be in the NFL’s drug program. And that means that teams have yet another thing to think through and another reason for caution with Foster. It’s hard to imagine a player having a more disastrous Combine than Foster did, as he was sent home early, didn’t participate in on-field drills, and failed a drug test.
The result has been Foster sliding down draft boards, and we could see him slide when it gets to draft day too. Talent-wise, he’s arguably a top-five player in this class, the top inside linebacker, and a tremendous defender. But the injury concerns, now coupled with the fact that he’ll be in the NFL’s drug program, could cause some teams to pass on him early. That means that it’s entirely possible that he will still be there when the Colts pick 15th overall, so they could have a decision to make.
As we know, it only takes one team to end a player’s slide, and each team will view something like a failed drug test differently. We know that Chris Ballard will not be afraid to take somebody with injury or character or off-field concerns, but with the 15th pick it remains to be seen what their decision will be about Foster. On the field, he’d certainly help them a lot. But there are other factors that go into it, and the pre-draft process has not gone well for Reuben Foster. It’s unknown where Foster will go, but a draft day slide should not really surprise anyone at this point.