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Justin Foster

Preseason Scouting Notes: Justin Foster, DE, Clemson

Senior | 6’2″ 265 lbs | Shelby, NC

 

A good run defender setting the EDGE who wins with intelligence, hands usage, and great tackling 

 

Overview:

Justin Foster is a true senior defensive end who was a 4-star prospect coming out of high school. Last season was his first year as a full-time starter starting 13 games for the Clemson Tigers. During 2019 Foster was able to generate ten tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He plays primarily from the 4-technique position on the defensive line under Brett Venables’ 4-2-5, 3-3-5 hybrid defense. Additionally, Foster was an All-ACC Academic Selection.

Strengths:

– Good use of hands displaying consistent placement when playing the run with great timing
– Has the mental processing to diagnosis run play and with patience against the zone read.
– Solid bull rush move using a long arm technique  to help him earn push in the pocket
– Great acceleration in the open field helps him execute stunts at a high level
– Good motor doesn’t give up on plays and will continue to push the pocket even when he loses initially, leading to clean up sacks.
– Very good tackler rarely misses tackles in the backfield

Areas to improve:

– Play strength is a concern being driven out of the play consistently against reach blocks and no push against the offensive line with good anchor traits.
– Pass rush plan is missing depends primarily on the bull rush and doesn’t deploy any counters against offensive lineman
– Marginal upfield burst doesn’t have explosiveness off the ball and gives plenty of time for an offensive lineman to get into their sets during pass pro.
– Athleticism does not show itself on tape does not display the bend to get around tackles and looks stiff when rushing the passer.

Injury Concerns

N/A

Projection:

Foster projects to a 4 or 5 technique in a 3-4 scheme at the next level. While he does have experience standing up as a pass rusher, he would best fit with his hands in the ground to play the run. Foster likely won’t have much impact as a rookie because of his lack of play strength and athleticism. He has to set a goal of getting stronger to prove he can truly compete at the next level, or Foster could be out of the league quickly if he doesn’t add weight and power. Right now, Foster seems like a late Day 3 selection with the chance to develop into a role player on run downs.

What to watch in 2020:

Can Foster finally live up to expectations? During his first season as a starter, Foster did not have the impact on every down that his coaches anticipated and were disappointing. He has to display more of a pass rush plan and develop his technique to win pass pro. If he can raise his production during his senior campaign, he has a chance to move up draft boards.