One of the top prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft will head to the 2017 NFL Combine with some questions to answer about an injury. Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster had surgery recently on a torn right rotator cuff, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan. The recovery period is four months, which would have him ready by the summer, well before training camp gets going in late July.
Per Caplan, Foster will not take part in any of the drills at the Combine early next month. The Combine kicks off on February 28, but linebackers do not arrive until Thursday, March 2. The players will go through medical exams on March 2 and 3. The bench press is set for March 4, while the on-field workout drills are scheduled for March 5. They will interview with teams throughout the process.
The timing of this would seemingly mean he will not be able to hold private workouts either. I suppose the injury and recovery could allow him to do some of the drills during a March workout in Tuscaloosa, but it would seem likely he will be left to simply interviewing with teams.
Given Foster’s status as the top rated inside linebacker in the draft, one could argue the interview process is more important than the physical workouts. Teams have plenty of film on him, and know what he brings to the table on the field. Getting a chance to see how he interviews, breaks down film, and otherwise comports himself could be where the real value lies.
The San Francisco 49ers hold the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and we have seen some suggestions of Foster at that spot. They currently have NaVorro Bowman and Ray-Ray Armstrong penciled into the two ILB spots of their 3-4 defense. Armstrong signed a modest two-year extension last December, so it is not like he is a lock to start under the new coaching regime. Maybe they invest heavily in the ILB spot.
I don’t think this kind of injury would have a huge impact on Foster’s draft stock, but if the 49ers are interested, maybe they move down from No. 2 and grab him in that manner?