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How does Alabama LB Reuben Foster’s offseason surgery affect his draft stock?

It’s unfortunate that Foster will miss time to surgery, but could this create an opportunity for the New Orleans Saints?

Middle Tennessee v Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, AL - Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) defends a pass targeted for Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders wideout Richie James (87) at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported this week that Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster would be undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, causing him to miss athletics testing and timing at the NFL Combine, Alabama’s pro day, and offseason workouts. The hope is that Foster can return to action in time for July training camp for whichever team selects him.

This continues a narrative of talented prospects leaving Tuscaloosa with lingering injuries.

Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl participant Julio Jones struggled with foot issues throughout his first three years in the NFL.

Mark Ingram, whose New Orleans Saints have won a Super Bowl, missed 9 games from 2011 to 2013 to similar foot injuries.

Foster’s former teammate, linebacker Reggie Ragland, never played a down for the Buffalo Bills last year after tearing his ACL in practice.

Still, each of those guys was drafted in the top two rounds. Foster is highly-regarded around the draft community and media machine, though opinions from inside the NFL are a little more vague. Lance Zierlein of reported just days ago that a Director of College Scouting he spoke with said their team doesn’t see Foster staying at middle linebacker in the pros. Here’s the complete quote:

"He's not a MIKE linebacker. I think he's a pure run-and-hit WILL linebacker with good cover talent. I'm worried about what his medicals will show because he's had some issues with stingers during his career. I have a higher grade on him than I had on Reggie Ragland. Better pro potential to me."

Could these concerns, validated by the sudden shoulder surgery, cause Foster to fall into the Saints’ hands at the 42nd-overall draft pick? What do you think?