A rough offseason for Reuben Foster is only getting worse before the NFL Draft begins.
Foster is widely considered the best middle linebacker in this year’s draft and a strong target for the Bengals in Round 1. However, Foster’s shoulder issue has been a major hit to his stock with one week until the draft begins.
Now, Foster has reportedly failed an NFL drug test administered at the Scouting Combine, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. The fail came because the test sample was too diluted, which the NFL considers to be a positive result for illegal substances.
Foster attributed the failed drug test to drinking too much water to stay hydrated after battling food poisoning leading up to the combine. Even if that’s true, this is still a major red flag for teams thinking about drafting Foster, especially in Round 1. It doesn’t help that he was kicked out of the Scouting Combine after a heated exchange with a hospital worker.
The 6-foot, 229-pound Foster is viewed by most draft gurus as the best linebacker in this year's draft, mainly because he’s a true three-down backer who has the coverage skills and sideline-to-sideline speed to play in any scheme.
However, the injury and character concerns will likely prove too much for a team to draft him in the top 10, despite Foster being a clear top-10 talent on the field. Then again, this is the Bengals we’re talking about, so Foster may still be in play for the No. 9 pick. It’s an unfortunate situation since Foster would likely be the best player available at that spot, but his baggage may prove to be too much.
Ultimately, I think Foster still manages to be drafted in Round 1, but his latest issues cause him to fall into the late 20s. He may slip into Round 2, but I don’t think he makes it to Cincinnati at No. 41.