- Isaiah Foskey
- Notre Dame
- 6’5″ 265 lbs
Foskey is a Concord, California native who was highly recruited from De La Salle High School. He played defensive and tight ends in High School and helped lead his team to the North Coast Section Open Division Championship in 2018. He was selected to play in the 2019 All-American Bowl before committing to play football at Notre Dame. Isaiah Foskey was recruited as a four-star prospect; he ranked as the #13 weak-side defensive end and the #28 player in California by 247sports.com.
The De La Salle product only appeared in four games as a true freshman totaling just 54 snaps. He would make his presence felt on special teams by blocking a punt during the 2019 season. Foskey had a much more productive sophomore season collecting 20 tackles. He would finish second on the team in sacks (4.5) and block another punt on special teams leading to his only touchdown in his college career. The Notre Dame defender made big plays in limited action over his first two seasons with the Fighting Irish.
Foskey put everyone on notice during his junior season as he set career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. He would also tally six forced fumbles in 2021 which led the NCAA. The Notre Dame EDGE rusher would lead the team in sacks in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He was named to the 2022 Consensus All-American team. Foskey leaves Notre Dame as the All-Time school sack leader; he attended the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
This is the one strength I love about Foskey. I don’t think his usage at Notre Dame showed this enough, as he rarely lined up as a down defensive lineman. The Notre Dame EDGE had some really good reps, especially around the goal line with his hand in the dirt. His ability to keep his eyes in the backfield and move blockers to make sure he can locate the ball and make a play is beautiful to watch. He averaged a 76.4 PFF run defense grade over his final two college seasons.
This is a nice rep from the senior bowl practice. Foskey takes advantage of a bit of a slip by the offensive lineman. He can now use his power to find the ball carrier and not allow him to go anywhere. I would expect many teams to ask him to play with his hand down more often in the NFL. In college, he’s proven he can be a major problem as a standup EDGE rusher as well.
One thing that doesn’t jump off the tape enough in some of this year’s prospects is hustle. This tends to happen quite a bit at the college level due to gap assignments and making sure you are disciplined. I do like the way the Notre Dame star pass rusher rarely gives up on a play. Foskey always looks for the ball regardless of where he is in the play. This has helped him generate sacks and impact plays over his four years at Notre Dame.
His hustle and refusal to give up on a play led to many extra-assisted tackles and tackles for loss. This is a positive sign to help him score more fantasy points in your lineups. There’s a lot of hidden yardage in football. Foskey is the type of player who hustles on every play and ensures that his team wins those plays.
Stiffness and Leverage
The Ohio State game was tough to watch as a Foskey fan. He did not have his best stuff and was pushed around for four quarters. The level of competition that will be the closest to the NFL was that Ohio State game, so seeing him struggle raised some concerns. He was going against two offensive tackles who will more than likely be drafted in this year’s draft. He had some good snaps, but there was little to take away as a positive watching the tape.
Foskey sometimes has issues getting shut down with his first move, forcing him to look very stiff. He is not that type of player against lesser competition, but it shows against more NFL-ready players. He did not have a great week at the senior bowl. Outside of the clip of him bull-rushing Michigan OT Ryan Hayes, he’s struggled. Foskey, at times, gets stuck and loses any leverage advantage, which allows the offensive line to almost run block him out of a play, even on passing downs. This is something he can fix with coaching and repetition.
Change of Direction and Bend
The one thing I find watching Foskey is his false first step on a good amount of his pass-rush attempts. It’s almost a chop step, but it limits him. I think he would have been even more productive if he could shake that habit. He struggles with stiffness, as I described above, but his lack of bend around the edge will hurt him more noticeably at the NFL level than it ever did in college. Foskey has been very successful with his chop-rip move over his past two seasons. He’s still a bit raw from a pass-rushing standpoint because he doesn’t possess a variety of moves.
I would like to see him not be as predictable when coming off the edge. There have been plenty of opportunities for Foskey to show creativity in his moves. He hasn’t. I would go as far as to say he looks uncomfortable with a spin move or changing direction and getting inside the tackle after he shows him a speed move to the outside. There is so much to like about Foskey, and I’d bet he gets a few of these weaknesses coached out of him before he even leaves the NFL combine. His size and college production are enough for me to be excited about adding him to my dynasty roster.
It’s still early in the process, but as of now, it appears most draft experts are looking at Foskey as more of a high second-round pick than they are a first-rounder. I’m more in line with that, but given the importance of his position, I could easily see him sneaking into the end of the first round. I like him more than I did George Karlaftis a season ago, and he went to the Kansas City Chiefs late in the first round.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Foskey ends up somewhere playing rotational or on special teams for his first year. He has star potential if he can put it all together, and that alone will have him on my radar as an EDGE I would love to add to my roster this off-season. Players with his type of upside and college production don’t come around that often. His rookie draft capital will be tied closely to his landing spot and combine testing.
There should be genuine excitement for Isaiah Foskey as you get to the middle to later rounds of your rookie draft. This is shaping to be a deeper draft at the defensive line than it has been in recent years. My gut tells me you may have to pass on that potential upside WR in the fifth round of your rookie draft and take Isaiah Foskey instead. While it may seem dumb at the time, you may look back in a year and be very happy you made that decision.
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