NFL Draft Day Sleeper: Could D.J. Foster Make An Instant Impact In The NFL?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

If Arizona State’s D.J. Foster was in the draft after the 2014 season, as opposed to the 2015 season, the view on his potential value and upside would likely be dramatically different.  Just look at his numbers between the two seasons:

2014
Rushing – 194 carries, 1,081 yards, 9 TD
Receiving – 62 receptions, 688 yards, 3 TD

2015
Rushing – 55 carries, 280 yards, 1 TD
Receiving – 59 receptions, 584 yards, 3 TD

Obviously the team’s decision to transition Foster from running back to wide receiver was a poor one as the senior struggled in his role.  The question now is how will NFL teams view him entering the draft, especially after he failed to show blazing speed at the Combine (4.57 seconds in the 40 yard dash).  Is he going to be viewed as a running back?  Maybe as a slot receiver?

Prior to last season Lance Zierlein of NFL.com (click here for the article) praised Foster by saying:

“with his instant acceleration and willingness to finish his runs after the catch, my guess is that Foster’s athletic ability and competitiveness will help him learn and thrive quickly at his new position.”

Obviously he still has a lot to learn at the position and the speed is a question, but there also is a lot to like given what he’s proven capable of running the football and the promise he showed last season.  Remember he didn’t have a very good quarterback throwing him the football, though that may have helped to add to the appeal as NFL.com’s Adam Rank noted (click here for the article):

“He has the lateral quicks, and great moves in the open field. And for a guy who played just one season as a receiver, he really did a great job on adjusting to a lot of bad balls. Which seems to be the only kind Bercovici knows how to throw.”

At 5’10” and 193 lbs. could he fit as a slot receiver in the mold of a Julian Edelman (5’10”, 200 lbs.) or Wes Welker (5’9”, 185 lbs.)?  Given the size comparison and the Patriots’ need for help at WR (as well as RB for that matter), you immediately have to hope that Foster finds his way to New England during the draft process.  He could see time lining up outside and fill the void left from the departure of Shane Vereen last season.

While New England may be the perfect fit it’s easy to imagine him producing in a lot of situations.  Keep a close eye on where he lands, as he has the potential to make an instant impact in the NFL.

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

Make sure to check out all of our Team Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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