Greg Gabriel: Recent news possibly impacting draft positions for LB Foster, RB Fournette

Could Alabama's Reuben Foster slip out of the first round?

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(AP Photo/David Goldman, File) — David Goldman

In the past few days there have been some recent developments that may have an effect on where some players get drafted. Thursday, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster admitted that he tested positive for a diluted sample at the Combine. What the diluted sample means is that the player could have been trying to make sure that he didn’t test positive. In the NFL, a diluted sample is equivalent to having a full blown positive test.

What does this mean? Once Foster signs a contract with a team, he will automatically be in the substance abuse program. This means that he will be tested up to 10 times per month for the next few years. If he tests positive again, he could face a suspension.

That fact alone could have a huge effect on where Foster gets drafted. No team wants to waste a high pick on a player who already has a strike against him. In the next week. Teams will be doing more research on Foster to make sure they know everything they can about him off the field. After having a problem at the hospital while he was at the Combine and being sent home because of it, this was the last thing Foster needed.

A few days ago he was looked at as a possible top-10 selection. I doubt that now happens and it wouldn’t shock me if he slides right out of the first round. There just have been too many red flags associated with this player in the last few months.

Another story that could have an impact on the top 10 of the draft is it has been reported that LSU running back Leonard Fournette may need ankle surgery. He has “loose” ankles which means he is prone to ankle sprains because of that looseness. During the 2016 college season, Fournette missed significant time with ankle issues, now that the reason why is known, it may or may not have an effect on where he gets drafted.

Fournette could easily have a procedure done to fix the problem, but the rehab time could cause him to miss training camp and maybe the start of the regular season. If the problem isn’t fixed, he could end up missing time during the 2017 season just like he did last year.

The medical staffs of the teams interested in Fournette will be relied upon to give accurate information. The opinions of those medical staffs can and will have an effect on his draft status. While the first club that has an interest may say they will draft him regardless and take a chance, we really won’t know for sure until next Thursday night.

My belief is that it won’t harm Fournette that much. I would bet he will still go in the top half of the first round, but he may not be the first running back selected.