Mason Foster - OLB
Height: 6-2 Weight: 242
Projection: 3rd to 4th round
It is somewhat of a surprise that Foster has ended up under the radar and does not grade out higher on draft prospect boards. It may be the fact that he was not surrounded by a particularly stellar defense and that Washington as a whole was considered to have underachieved in 2010 with 6 regular season losses. Also, Washington has seen very few of its players drafted into the NFL over the last few years. In spite of this, Mason Foster is a player that should not be overlooked.
One thing that immediately stands out about Foster is production. He led the PAC-10 in tackles this past year with 163. He is a four-year starter and has consistently performed each year maintaining one of the highest tackles-per-game ratings in the league. Foster has good instinct for playing to the ball and taking correct angles on the field. He is a great form tackler and forced several fumbles during his stay at Washington. He already has the size for playing at the NFL level in a 4-3 scheme and has shown the necessary durability.
Foster had a mediocre combine, grading in the middle of the pack in every event. He did not look particularly quick or fluid. Though he plays good in zone coverage, he would likely struggle against speedy backs and tight ends in man coverage. He has a tendency to let himself get pushed around on running plays due to poor technique at stacking and shedding blockers.
One look at the Browns roster begs the question: "why do we need another linebacker?" In fact there are 11 LBs shown on the Browns roster right now. Foster has two things I like: play experience and production. This has come against the top tier competition and complex offenses of the PAC-10. He has been a leader in college as a team captain and has won several MVP awards. A lot of Foster's downside issues should be able to be addressed with better coaching and conditioning available at the next level. Foster is moving up on draft boards but with the Browns high pick, they might be able to snag him in the 4th round. He would be a bargain at that pick.