Mason Foster NFL Draft Scouting Report

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11: Linebacker Mason Foster #40 of the Washington Huskies celebrates with Willis Wilson #29 after tackling quarterback Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orange and causing a fumble on September 11 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle Washington. The Huskies defeated the Orange 41-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Mason Foster
6'2, 242 pounds | Outside linebacker | Washington

Coverage:
As an NFL defensive coordinator, I would feel comfortable with Foster in pass coverage.  He has good fluid hips that allow him to stick with a streaking tight end or a running back in the flat.  His overall speed and athleticism will help him avoid being a target of opposing offensive coordinators.  In zone coverage, Foster has a tendency to get his pad level too high which leads to false steps.  Those false steps limit his ability to break and make a play on the ball.  However, he has good short area quickness which does help his click and close ability.  He has average hands and good awareness for the routes developing around him.

Instincts: Foster is a very instinctive linebacker that quickly identifies his offensive line keys.  He is the type of player that is always around the football and making plays.  It is evident in his play on the field that he spends a ton of time studying game film.  Foster is found moving in the direction of the play often before the ball is in the ball carriers hands.  He has a nose for the football and that great awareness allows him to quickly identify the ball carrier.

Pass rush: This is one of the weaker parts of Foster's game in that he doesn't bring much to the table in the form of a pass rush.  He has the quickness and athleticism to be effective but lacks savvy.  Foster has poor timing and often gets caught hand fighting with the offensive line.

Pursuit: It would not be rare to find Foster several yards down the field making a play on the ball carrier.  He possesses a relentless motor which helps with his pursuit on the football.  Foster routinely takes proper angles and has the speed to prevent running backs from getting to the edge.  His speed also makes him a sideline to sideline threat.

Quickness: Foster has good all around quickness that impacts his game in many ways.  His short area quickness allows him to break on the football.  Foster has a good second gear explosion which permits him to close on the ball carrier.

Run defense: An area of concern for Foster is his ability to sit in his stance and hold strong at the point of attack.  He has a tendency to raise his pad level which allows blockers to get into his body and drive him off the ball.  However, he the suddenness and lateral movement necessary to effectively avoid potential blockers.  Still this is a concern because in the NFL he will need to be able to stack and shed on the edge which maybe something he struggles adjusting too.

Strength: I mentioned Foster's struggles stacking at the line but that is mainly due to technique issues rather than strength.  His strength is apparent with his ability to shed blocks with his hands.  When he prevents blockers from getting into his body he is able to rip and club his way off blocks.

Tackling: Foster is a solid tackler that is often under control when approaching the ball carrier.  He shows good technique by breaking down with his head up and on a swivel.  He then rolls his hips and explodes into the ball carrier delivering a pop.

Games Viewed: USC, Oregon State, Stanford, California, and Nebraska

Final word: After watching several games, I fell in love with Foster's abilities and performance.  He showed to be a real playmaker that is always around the football.  His tenacity and instincts routinely put him in place to make a play on the football.  He is not going to bring you much of a pass rush but has the coverage skills to be a 3 down linebacker.  I will also argue that he is capable of being a 4 down linebacker meaning he could have an impact on special teams.  Foster is a guy I would feel comfortable selecting in the early to mid 2nd round and plugging him in to start from day 1.

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