SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) looks on  during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Toledo Rockets on September 11, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium, in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) looks on during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Toledo Rockets on September 11, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium, in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey Underdelivers

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Isaiah Foskey is one of those frustrating players to watch on game film.

He has raw first-round ability, but watching him play was underwhelming and uninspiring – – when comparing it to what he is capable of.

For example, he looked a lot better moving around against Cincinnati compared to the Oklahoma State and FSU games in 2021.

Prospects like this scare me.

NFL Draft platforms love Foskey

Pro Football Network, Walter Football, CBS, Draftwire, FanSided, Pro Football Focus, NBC Sports Chicago, SBNation, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Rise N Draft, The Sporting News, The Athletic, The 33rd Team, 247 Sports, Fox Sports, Draft Kings and the San Diego Union Tribune all have first-round grades on him.

Sure, there are things Foskey does at a high-level.

He looked great in coverage carrying tight-ends and backs into the flat.

He additionally showed above average football speed off the edge and excellent hand-usage to win the edges.

It takes more than raw traits

Foskey is exactly the type of prospect NFL teams will fall in love with at the Combine and his pro day.

However, I always go back to the game film.

🚩When I watched Foskey play, it looked like he was coasting on his natural ability. I didn’t see a strong “want.” He would make a play and disappear🚩

As the old saying goes, “The game is won or lost from the neck up.”

Everyone is talented in the NFL, but it takes more than that to win. It takes players who want it – – and it takes players who show on game film football is important to them by being consistent.

Foskey was too soft against the run

Stopping the run is the least glamorous part of playing defense.

Everyone wants to come off the edge and make that show-stopping blind side kill shot on the quarterback.

Playing the run is where the “want” really shows up on game film, and Foskey was ho-hum in this area.

Sure, he made the easier tackles when he was unblocked or when he chased downfield and made a stop, which makes for a good highlight reel.

However, in the trenches where the games are won or lost, he didn’t do it for me.

Questionable instincts?

When watching film I don’t look for the “one-offs,” but I look for tendencies and patterns in my notes.

Three times against Oklahoma State, Foskey went the wrong direction and tried to tackle the wrong player who didn’t have the ball.

There were a number of other times he looked hesitant on running plays off the edge.

I am not going to come right out in at this point and say Foskey lacks instincts, but I am making a note of it so when I circle back on his 2022 game film, I’ll be looking to either dismiss or confirm it.

#7 Isaiah Foskey 6-foot-5, 265 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: Second-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 69.4% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of October 9, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: Oklahoma State, FSU and Cincinnati (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assists) 6 forced fumbles, 1 pass defended, 11.0 sacks (32 pressures pff.com)

Note: Projects best to OLB in 3-4 (three down linemen and four linebacker scheme)

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Versatile and athletic defender who was inconsistent as a pass rusher and against the run. Marginal motor. Was set off the line of scrimmage and on. In passing situations got tied up a lot off the edge, but did flash ability to blow past tackles. Has excellent quick hands and good technique to slap and go to win the edge. Has short-area burst closing. Rarely flashed it, but has bull rush power. Occasionally drew double teams. Could come off blocks and fight through to make strong tackles against the run, but susceptible to being fooled with misdirection. Let his foot off the gas too often. Plays the game too methodically and doesn’t often play with a high sense of urgency.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Consistency?
  2. Does he play with strong sense of urgency?
  3. Can he put together back-to-back sack and pressure performances?
  4. Instincts versus the run?

I keep going back to the old saying about choosing an outfit at the store,”If you don’t love it in the store, don’t buy it.”

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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