Although Alabama Crimson Tide standout linebacker Reuben Foster is coming off a season that concluded with him winning the Butkus award for being the top linebacker in the country, Foster may not be the first linebacker taken in the NFL Draft this year.
NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein talked to an NFC pro personnel director about just how likely it was that Foster wouldn’t be the first linebacker to hear his name called in the draft.
“It won’t surprise me if (Temple LB Haason) Reddick comes off the board before (Alabama LB Reuben) Foster. I like Foster a lot and I think he’s the better player of the two, but Reddick is bigger than Foster and is a legit rusher on the edge, too. Any time you have someone who can rush the quarterback, they get pushed up the board.” — NFC pro personnel director
The pro personnel director does, interestingly enough, note that he believes Foster is the best linebacker in the draft, but Temple’s Haason Reddick’s status as a scary edge rusher could prompt a team to take him first.
With the success of Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Vic Beasley as edge rushers, it’s not a stretch to see a team take a player like Reddick who they think could have the same kind of impact that Foster just can’t provide because that’s not his forte.
According to PFF, Reddick led all 3-4 OLBs in pass-rush productivity from the left side in 2016-17 for the Owls.