Reuben Foster's Football IQ Reportedly Concern for NFL Teams After Interviews

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 18:  Reuben Foster #10 of the Crimson team reacts to a play during the University of Alabama Crimson Tide A-day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

In addition to off-field concerns hurting Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster's draft stock, some NFL teams have questioned his ability to handle the mental side of the game.      

The MMQB's Robert Klemko spoke to Foster, who said he has had trouble understanding the more tactical nuances:

The major concern with Foster for NFL teams, beyond the off-field questions, is his ability to absorb a playbook. Foster has struggled in interviews with teams who ask him to draw concepts with X's and O's. "I've been working to get better," Foster says. "Other people learn different, other people have ADHD, or have a learning disorder. X's and O's on boards is hard to do for me. I second-guess myself."

On March 3, Foster was sent home from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis after he got into a "heated altercation" with a hospital worker, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, who later shared a letter of apology Foster wrote:

For some, the incident highlighted possible maturity problems.

"He already had immaturity, issues with life skills," an NFL talent evaluator told Klemko. "This is the same guy. We're not in the market."

Teams have looked past far worse off-field problems in the past, though.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Tyreek Hill in the fifth round last year after he pleaded guilty in 2015 to assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. The Seattle Seahawks selected Frank Clark in the second round in 2015 after Michigan dismissed him following his domestic violence arrest.

Most damning to Foster's draft stock may be doubts about whether he can adjust to the pro game.

Randy Gregory was considered one of the best pass-rushers in the 2015 draft until his stock fell. Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer reported for NFL.com "there is concern about Gregory's ability to handle the mental rigors of professional football."

The Dallas Cowboys picked Gregory with the 60th overall selection, and he has appeared in 14 games for the team. The league suspended him for at least a year following repeated violations of its substance-abuse policy.

So far, Foster's draft stock remains high. In his most recent scouting notebook, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had the Alabama star going ninth overall to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Foster still has a little over a month to allay any fears teams might have about whether he's prepared to immediately help an NFL defense.

Related

    New 'Gridiron Heights' 🚨

    Belichick, Lamar and Sherman compete on a game show to decide which teams are actually good 😂🎥

    NFL logo
    NFL

    New 'Gridiron Heights' 🚨

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Newest NFL Power Rankings 📈

    There's a new No. 1 entering Week 12

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Newest NFL Power Rankings 📈

    NFL Staff
    via Bleacher Report

    Jerry Jones: Belichick Approached Me About a Job in the '90s

    ‘I can coach. If you ever get an opportunity, don’t forget about me'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Jerry Jones: Belichick Approached Me About a Job in the '90s

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    49ers Entering Brutal Stretch 😱

    San Francisco about to play the toughest three-game stretch this late in the season in NFL history.

    No team has played three straight games against teams with an .800+ winning percentage this late in the season in the Super Bowl era. (ESPN)

    NFL logo
    NFL

    49ers Entering Brutal Stretch 😱

    nwagoner
    via Twitter