The NFL Combine kicked off on Monday, leading to many reports and rumors about the NFL Draft. On Wednesday, Notre Dame edge defender Isaiah Foskey revealed he had met with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Former Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey said he has met with the Chiefs, Eagles and Vikings so far at the NFL Combine.— Patrick Engel (@PatrickEngel_) March 1, 2023
"I feel like they all pretty much liked me. They like the way I play. They see the passion I have in the game and how relentless I am." pic.twitter.com/uDPiiwDeLb
Foskey is one of the more accomplished rushers in the class, earning first-team All-American honors from multiple media outlets in 2022. Here’s what to know about one of Kansas City’s potential draft targets:
Foskey was invited to the 2023 Senior Bowl, where he measured in at nearly 6’5” and 262 pounds. He showed off 10-inch hands and a wingspan of 81 5/8 inches — one of the larger measurables among the defensive linemen in attendance.
Notre Dam Edge Isaiah Foskey DOMINATES— Swift Sports Network (@SwiftyNetwork) January 31, 2023
Michigan Tackle Ryan Hayes in 1 on 1s #SeniorBowl #Bears #NFL pic.twitter.com/vWL0JjfP6E
Coming out of De La Salle High School in Concord, California, Foskey was a four-star recruit. Once he arrived in South Bend, he was instantly a special-teams contributor, blocking a punt as a true freshman. From his sophomore season on, he was a staple in the Notre Dame defense.
Foskey finished his four collegiate seasons with 25 sacks — a Notre Dame record. He added 28 tackles for loss in 37 games. In 2021 alone, Foskey forced six of the seven fumbles he recorded for the Fighting Irish.
In his final two seasons, Foskey was the primary overhang linebacker. Depending on the play that was called, this meant he was coming up to the line to rush the passer or set an edge — but he could also have coverage responsibilities.
While that versatility can be valuable, it can also be detrimental to a player’s development. We see this in Foskey’s play strength at the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t shed blocks easily. When he’s not winning a rush move, he doesn’t have the raw power to generate enough push to collapse a pocket.
Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey told reporters yesterday that he met with the #Chiefs— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) March 2, 2023
Foskey played the overhang LB for ND, rushing & dropping into short coverages
He doesn't have the raw power to collapse pockets. His primary move to win around the edge was swiping down hands pic.twitter.com/dnROmFvXOD
So Foskey tries to win with his cognizant, effective hands. His favorite move around the edge involves quickly swiping down the offensive tackle’s hands— and then propelling himself past the tackle’s outside shoulder towards the quarterback.
While this has worked for him, there have also been times he hasn’t shown the bend to really turn the corner and get into the pocket. So even when he wins a hand fight, he can be washed out of a play.
And since he doesn’t have natural power, he struggles to tighten the pocket — which could at least make the quarterback feel his presence. In the NFL, Foskey will need to build on his hand swipes by developing some other moves.
Being more of a 3-4 OLB, Foskey has to really fire out with good leverage to generate power at the block engagement. When he does, it looks great! pic.twitter.com/sRCCgxmjaf— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) March 2, 2023
While Foskey doesn’t have the foundation of power, there are times when he fires out with good leverage — and is able to generate power from that. It shows up on these running plays, where his good first step and punch give him an initial advantage that leads to a tackle on three occasions. Unfortunately, there are few examples of these kinds of controlling blocks.
How he fits with the Chiefs
In Kansas City, Foskey would have to convert to being a full-time defensive end — which he has the physical size to do. While he has sound fundamentals as an EDGE, he lacks the ability to disrupt a play. That may make him more a long-term prospect than a player who can contribute immediately. Before he could be a starter or the Chiefs, he’ll need to work on both his power and rushing ability.
The bottom line
Foskey has the size of a player Kansas City might target for defensive end. In college, however, that wasn’t the way he was used. If the Chiefs select him — which would likely have to be in Round 2 or later — they’d be bringing in a sound football player who will need to be developed into a true defensive end.