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Need to Know: RB Arian Foster says he’s ready to go—should the Redskins call?

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Need to Know: RB Arian Foster says he’s ready to go—should the Redskins call?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 23, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 165 days ago. It will be 81 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 35; Preseason opener @ Falcons 49; Final roster cut 72

Should the Redskins go after Arian Foster?

The Redskins are still in need of a running back to back up Matt Jones and to take some of the load off of the second-year back. A good option may have just become available.

According to ESPN, Arian Foster, formerly of the Texans, has put out the word that he will be ready for training camp and that he is “hungry” to regain his previous form. According to the article three unnamed teams have expressed interest.

That previous form was pretty good. He four seasons with at least 1,200 yards rushing and three with 10 or more rushing touchdowns. Foster is also a good receiver out of the backfield with 249 career receptions and 14 receiving touchdowns.

The problem is, we haven’t see that form much lately. Foster has missed 23 games in the last three seasons. In 2013 he spent the last half of the season on injured reserve with a back injury. He was reasonably healthy in 2014, missing three games with hamstring and groin injuries. But the injury bug bit again last year as he missed three games early with a groin and then after struggling for four games he tore his Achilles and was out the rest of the season.

The Achilles injury happened in late October so when training camp starts he will have had about nine months of rehab. That’s a fairly aggressive schedule but it’s certainly possible that Foster could be ready, although it should be noted that all players heal at different rates.

If he is ready should the Redskins bring him in? There certainly is no reason not to conduct due diligence but there are plenty of questions hanging out there. As noted above, he struggled when he played last year, gaining 163 yards on 63 carries, a paltry average of 2.6 yards per carry. Was he still recovering from the groin injury? Or at age 29 was it just what tends to happen to running backs as they get older? In either case it’s a red flag for any team looking to sign him.

Another question is what kind of money Foster is looking for. In 2012 he signed a five-year, $43.5 million extension with the Texans. He collected on a good chunk of that money before they let him go in March. The Redskins likely would not want to pay a back with Foster’s recent injury history much more than the vet minimum, perhaps with some incentives. Sometimes players who are used to collecting big paychecks have a hard time lowering their salary expectations.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins get past the injury issues, the tepid performance last year, and the money to reach a deal with Foster by the start of training camp. But as the preseason goes on desperation on both sides could push them to a contract. I doubt it but you can’t rule it out.

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When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

A four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, Aqib Talib has a long and checkered past, which includes multiple arrests and failed PED and drug tests. The problems aren't new either, the talented cornerback was first arrested as a high school student. In college at Kansas, Talib was suspended multiple times and had multiple positive tests for marijuana use. 

Why does this matter for Redskins fans on the eve of the NFL Draft?

Despite all the trouble, Bruce Allen drafted Talib 20th overall in 2008 when the current Redskins general manager was in the same role for Tampa. While Talib's legal troubles and suspensions continued in the NFL, he also proved to be a highly capable cornerback in the pro game. 

The lesson for those trying to determine the Redskins draft board: Allen might be willing to look past red flags if a player presents good value. Talib did in 2008, and there could be opportunities for Washington in 2017.

Reuben Foster jumps to mind, as the talented Alabama linebacker will enter the league in the substance abuse program. While Foster's issues pale in comparison to other allegations about some draft prospects, players like Joe Mixon, Gareon Conley and Caleb Brantley will also present unique circumstances for NFL teams to evaluate. 

GMs are thrust into the unenviable task of determining a player's character, often in short periods of time. As 'Skins director of college scouting Scott Campbell explained, the team grades every player for their football skills first, and only later adds in character information. From Campbell's comments:

When you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don’t factor in the character. You don’t grade character, you grade talent. So you don’t throw away somebody early that may have some redeeming quality, or there’s a side to the story you don’t know about. You grade football players as football players first on talent, and then when it comes closer to the draft, you start weeding all that, getting more information, deciding, ‘OK, this guy’s not our kind of guy, this guy’s not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted, but good luck to him.

Thursday night the Redskins will be forced to make a determination on the right player for the team. That decision could include judging a player's character, and that could mean balancing legal or substance abuse troubles with talent and ability.

Talib is only one pick in Allen's long personnel career, but it's one worth noting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

 

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Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

Risk vs reward when Redskins consider Alabama LB Reuben Foster in NFL Draft

An undeniable talent, Reuben Foster seemed for months to be a lock for the Top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Alabama star is a sure tackler, playmaking force and winner of the 2016 Dick Butkus Award as the nation's best college linebacker.

The actual football season went great for Foster, he logged 115 tackles and was named the SEC Championship Game MVP. Since play on the field stopped, things have stalled. Foster had an unfortunate incident at the NFL Combine, where he was sent home after an altercation with a hospital worker. In the time since, it's come out Foster tested positive for a diluted urine sample and will enter the NFL in the substance abuse program. 

Still, despite a tough two months, Foster's talent is too rich to pass up for some NFL teams. And per NFL Network's Lance Zierlein, the Redskins could be that team

In his mock draft released Wednesday, Zierlein predicts Foster's draft day slide to end with Washington at the 17th pick. From NFL.com:

Foster could fall due to off-field concerns and worries about injuries, but he fits a need for the Redskins, bringing a tough playmaker into the fold.

Beyond the diluted sample and the combine altercation, Foster also has had stinger issues throughout his career at 'Bama. He has elite speed at the linebacker position and the type of athleticism defensive coordinators dream about, though some pro scouts question if he can handle the calls of a Mike linebacker in the NFL game.

The Redskins are not desperate for interior linebacker help, this season. The team added Zach Brown in free agency, re-signed 2016 defensive captain Will Compton earlier this week and Mason Foster remains under contract. All three players, however, are headed to free agency in 2018. Adding Foster would provide depth this year and a potential star in the future.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!