The Miami Dolphins brought in an incredibly exciting ILB talent for a visit on Thursday. Reuben Foster – ILB Alabama (6-1 228lbs) is an absolute physical freak. There was a time when he was a consensus top 10 NFL Draft prospect. Certain NFL Draft analysts were going as far as to compare him to the great Ray Lewis. He was the complete package – He was explosive, very fast, very twitchy, hit like a truck, had excellent ball skills, and was a tough run defender. He had all of the upside in the world. The problem is that he can never stay on the field. Foster is constantly finding himself in legal trouble or on the bench due to injury. Since being drafted in the late first round in 2017 by the San Francisco 49ers, Foster has played in 16 games.
Timeline of Foster’s legal issues
3/3/2107 – Foster was sent home from the NFL Combine for allegedly getting into an altercation with a hospital worker in Indianapolis. Foster also failed a drug test.
1/13/2018 – Foster was arrested on a marijuana charge.
2/11/2018 – Foster was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and assault weapons possession.
4/25/2018 – Foster’s accuser’s attorney makes a statement that the accuser lied to investigators about the incident, specifically that Foster had hit her and that her bruises were from a fight with another woman.
5/23/2018 – Charges of domestic violence are dropped against Foster.
11/24/2018 – Foster was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He was accused of pushing his then-girlfriend in the chest and hitting her in the face.
1/3/2018 – Charges of domestic violence are dropped against Foster.
Timeline of Foster’s injury history (Courtesy of Draftsharks.com)
10/8/2016 – Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1
2/6/2017 – Right Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tear
9/10/2017 – Pedal Ankle Sprain Grade 3
10/22/2017 – Chest Rib Bruise
8/25/2018 – Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1
10/28/2018 – Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade2
5/20/2019 – Knee ACL Tear Grade 3
The Miami Dolphins need to upgrade the Linebacker position. Elandon Roberts has done a suitable job in holding a starting role for the last two seasons; however, to take this defense to another level, there will need to be someone else starting in the role soon. Reuben Foster certainly is an interesting choice. Foster has some familiarity with new Head Coach Mike McDaniel as the two both spent time together with the San Francisco 49ers. Foster has all the physical tools to step in and be the play-making, hard-hitting quarterback of the defense. The problem is, can he be relied on to be on the field.
The inside Linebacker is often the person tasked with being the communicator on the field for the defense. I wonder if the Dolphins would want to transition away from Roberts in that role, given the fact that they lost presumptive play-caller and former Head Coach Brian Flores to start the offseason. One also has to question what physical condition Foster is in after not playing for multiple years, given all of the injuries his body has endured.
Is Foster an immediate upgrade over Roberts? Maybe. Is Foster’s potential and elite athleticism exciting to dream about in this already loaded Dolphin’s defense? Absolutely. Is he worth the risk for Miami? Maybe. Foster will come at probably the league minimum so that the cap ramification will be insignificant should they need to cut him, and Roberts has been nothing but professional in his time in Miami and understands that this is a business; I speculate that he would have no problem sliding back into the starting role should Foster be cut.