Options at WLB for the Rams: Mason Foster

LB Mason Foster, University of Washington Could Mason Foster be the next London Fletcher?

The Twitter-wide MockOne draft made huge waves with a stunning array of trades in the first round, including a deal by Rams faithful @PFF_Tyson to snag Julio Jones at pick #11. Now that the first fifty picks are gone, trade activity is calming down, but our man Tyson still managed to make some waves with his second-round selection, filling a key need for the Rams. 

With the 19th pick in the 2nd round the St. Louis Rams select OLB from the U. of Washington, Mason Foster. #MockOne

I confess to a lack of scouting knowledge on Foster, but my arm needed little twisting. As it turns out, the PAC-10 tackling machine who led the Senior Bowl in stops is well worth reading about.

“He’s a tough, instinctive player that consistently gets to the ball,” another NFL scout said. “The more tape you watch of him, the more you like him, and the more you realize that he is one of, if not the most, consistent play-making linebacker in the draft.”

National Football Post On Mason Foster

Foster ranks third among outside linebackers on NFP’s big board, and their scouting report is full of positives.

Possesses average athletic ability and straight-line in pursuit, but has improved his overall instincts as a senior. Does a much better job reading his run keys, locating the football and making his way toward the play. Exhibits some lateral quickness as well, is more of a run around guy who can slip blocks and close on the football.

Not a pure hitter in the mold of Ray Lewis or Rey Maualuga, Foster’s football smarts and disciplined play may be a perfect fit next to James Laurinaitis (another second-round pick) in coach Spagnuolo’s system. As you can see from this highlight video from Washington’s 2010 game vs Nebraska, Foster doesn’t explode into plays, but has a high motor and an unerring knack for shedding blocks, finding the hole and flowing to the ball carrier.

With his size (6’1″, 245 lbs) and his style of play, he may not be a pass-rushing dynamo on the weakside. But with his ability to make consistently smart reads and be around the football at all times, he reminds me of a former Rams great that we let slip away — London Fletcher. Arguably, the decision to let Fletcher go was the first of many personnel mistakes that prevented the Greatest Show Rams from becoming a “dynasty” team capable of winning multiple Super Bowls. Not that adding Foster in 2011 is going to get us all the way back, but he seems to be the kind of player that fits the system and could become a defensive building block for the Rams.

Developing: @Caricsportsmgt is in attendance at the University of Washington’s Pro Day, and reports that Mason Foster ran a 4.65 in the 40, improving on his so-so 4.75 at the combine. (For comparison’s sake, Von Miller ran a 4.49 at the combine.)

Updated: Seattle native Doug Farrar also attended the University of Washington Pro Day — focusing most of his attention on the new-look Jake Locker — but he also got to see Mason Foster’s workout up close, and exchange a few words. I asked him for his thoughts.

@RamsHerd Fletcher’s not a bad comp, though I see him as more of a Clint Session guy. At the Senior Bowl, I told him that he reminded me of Clint Session. He basically said, “I remind myself of Clint Session, too.”

Clint Session is a fourth-round pick that has become a productive tackler and stopper for the Colts, a solid pro player whose 2010 season (his fourth) was sidelined by a broken arm. However, while Session applies moderate pressure as a pass rusher, he is not a sack artist. 

Fellow scout Rob Rang also watched Foster’s workout and sees a similar type of player, projecting Foster as a 3rd or 4th round pick.