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Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

After breaking out in 2021, does Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey have a scouting report worthy of early-round hype in the 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft’s edge rusher group has morphed into a dominating spectacle. The top prospects are rare in their ability, but even after them, there are dozens of other names to know. One such name contained in this 2022 NFL Draft scouting report is Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey. Foskey’s one of the nation’s top producers, but is he an NFL talent?

Isaiah Foskey NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive End
  • School: Notre Dame
  • Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 260 pounds

Isaiah Foskey Scouting Report

Between Foskey, David Ojabo, Jermaine Johnson II, Arnold Ebiketie, and others, there has been an unusually high number of breakout defensive ends on the college football circuit. In an NFL that’s always starving for pass rushers, that’s a great sign. It’s an indicator that this class is stocked with talent and trending up quickly. Foskey is no doubt a part of that.

Given that Foskey is a redshirt sophomore in his first year of eligibility, there’s a chance he will return to school in 2022. Would that be the right decision, or is it time for Foskey to take the NFL leap? There are plenty of factors to consider in this decision, but the tape outweighs all. Thus, let’s take a look at Foskey’s tape and analyze how far he’s come.

Isaiah Foskey’s athletic profile

There’s no shortage of athletic edge rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Foskey is no different. The Fighting Irish defender stands at 6’5″, 260 pounds, with great length for the position. That length provides an exceptional conduit for speed to power. It also helps that Foskey is fairly explosive. His first step bursts off the line with energy, and he gears up relatively quickly for his long frame.

Foskey’s physical skill set helps him in multiple phases. The Notre Dame DE has great speed and explosiveness in open space, and he rotates off-ball more often than expected. With his length and athleticism, Foskey has exceptional range in pursuit. He can run down quarterbacks from behind, and his length increases his disruption window.

Going further, Foskey has the length and lower-body density to hold the edge in run defense. In fact, his frame is fairly well-proportioned overall. His large arms and hands allow him to maintain anchors once he’s extended. But outside of that, Foskey has the capacity for violent, forceful hands. He’s a twitched-up, amped-up athlete at his size, and he generates rare speed with his hand motion.

Expectedly, Foskey possesses great power capacity on his extensions. He can bulldoze blockers with his leg drive. And with his explosiveness, length, and violence, he has a dangerous long-arm move.

Execution beyond the physical traits

Foskey’s initial burst and length combination is undoubtedly the central element of his NFL Draft scouting report. One could argue that Foskey is still developing around his athletic foundation. As it stands, however, he shows promising flashes in the executional phase.

Foskey, most notably, has flashed the ability to multitask. He can use swipes and bend slightly at the apex. He’s shown he can go speed to power and stack moves to disengage and turn the corner. Additionally, when the Notre Dame product gets within range of the QB, he proactively uses his length to generate chaos. He seeks out the QB while executing long-arm moves, and this proactive mentality allows him to make big plays.

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Going off of Foskey’s proactive mentality, the Notre Dame DE also has a red-hot motor. He consistently generates pressure on second and third efforts. Foskey never quits on reps and keeps his ears pinned down until the final whistle. When he’s chipped on the outside, he can recover quickly and rip down anchors with quickness.

Lastly, Foskey can use his fast feet and moderate hip flexibility to maintain tackling angles as he closes in on plays. He’s also a willing special teamer, which only helps his NFL Draft outlook, serving as a blocker and a gunner at times.

Areas for improvement

As exciting as Foskey’s best moments are, the Notre Dame DE does have a lot to improve upon as he nears a draft decision. Some of this may dilute his stock in the current cycle. Athletically, Foskey doesn’t appear to have elite bend. He flashes good ankle flexion, but he’s rarely able to sustain it around the edge. He struggles to bend under tackles and break free at the apex, limiting his present ability as a pocket beater.

Furthermore, Foskey doesn’t always display the lateral agility or flexibility necessary to execute swim moves. Much of Foskey’s bend limitations stem from his tall, high-cut frame. Foskey can be somewhat stiff laterally with this frame, and he plays with his pad level too upright. It can be easy for linemen to get under his pads. To that end, Foskey’s tendency to rush too upright can dilute the amount of power he generates at the point of attack.

Foskey’s areas for improvement don’t end there. The Fightin Irish prospect still has more room for refinement as a pass rusher. He can improve the timing and placement of his extensions, as he doesn’t always get inside his opponent’s torso. His attack angles can be inconsistent at times, and he doesn’t always capitalize on half-man leverage when he has it. He’s shown the capacity to stack counters, but Foskey can still work to do so with greater consistency. As of now, he’s reliant on simple extensions, bull rushes, and long arms.

In summation, Foskey still has room to add more moves and combos to his arsenal. He can strike more cleanly with his hands, and his rushes can fade when his first moves fail.

Isaiah Foskey’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Foskey is one of the most exciting defensive ends on the college football and NFL Draft circuit. His production does well to emphasize that. However, Foskey isn’t quite as refined nor as well-rounded as his production implies. There’s still a great deal of upside in his profile, but there’s also a lot to work on in the coming weeks and months.

Foskey can sow plenty of discord with his explosiveness, length, power, and tireless motor alone. However, he’s lacking the elite bend and lateral agility, as well as the greater refinement and consistency that marks a bonafide early-round edge rusher.

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He’s still very young and trending up there. But right now, that’s what separates him from the top DEs in the class.

Nevertheless, Foskey is still a Day 2 prospect for me, and he only makes this edge class stronger. He may want to consider returning to school to keep honing his traits and capitalize on a more open 2023 class. At the same time, however, Foskey has already flashed enough upside and three-down utility to earn interest in 2022.

Isaiah Foskey’s Player Profile

Notre Dame always finds a way to land premier talent on the edge through recruiting. That much was clear last year when both Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji heard their names called in the 2021 NFL Draft. Foskey appears to be the next in line — something many expected when he signed in 2019.

In the 2019 class, Foskey was a four-star recruit and the 209th-ranked prospect on the board. At 6’5″, 233 pounds, Foskey was a two-way player. He had some modest success at tight end, but the high school captain’s future clearly belonged on the defensive line.

With a 4.82 40-yard dash and a 32-inch vertical, Foskey had promising natural athleticism for his size. That helped accelerate the offer process.

Hailing from De La Salle High School, Foskey had scholarship offers from Alabama, Penn State, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Michigan, and Ohio State — scoring Bingo twice on the blue-chip college program sheet. But Notre Dame provided a mix of opportunity and developmental promise that Foskey couldn’t pass up. And so, he enrolled with the Fighting Irish in 2019.

Foskey’s career at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame defensive line would soon get a boost from Foskey. Yet, the early parts of his collegiate career were spent more on special teams. Even there, Foskey distinguished himself as a hard worker and a tireless competitor. he earned 5 total tackles on the year and also blocked a punt.

In 2020, Foskey earned an increased role on defense but remained in a rotation with Hayes, Ogundeji, and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. Even in a rotation, the Notre Dame DE flashed promise. In nine games, Foskey logged 20 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and a pass deflection.

When Hayes and Ogundeji left in 2021, Foskey was due for a breakout. And he’s all but delivered on that expectation. With the season at its end, Foskey has been one of the nation’s top producers. In 11 games, he’s amassed 46 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, a pass deflection, 5 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.

Isaiah Foskey’s NFL Draft ascension

Foskey’s evaluation is an interesting one — one that toes the line between undeniable promise and a need for greater consistency and refinement. The Notre Dame DE is undoubtedly a great athlete with an NFL frame. But several of his sacks are earned late in reps on second and third efforts or aided by poor pocket management from QBs.

That’s not to diminish Foskey’s accomplishments or his talent. The same can be said for most other edge defenders. Nevertheless, with Foskey, it’s especially evident.

His effort is commendable, and his upside is easily visible. That combination alone will get him some early-round hype. However, if he wants to deliver on that, he’ll need to hone his bend, refine his hand usage, and keep adding to his arsenal. That way, he can start winning sooner in reps with greater consistency.

Above all, Foskey must avoid getting complacent on the path up to stardom. But listening to Foskey speak, that’s something he’s cognizant of. After all, it’s taken nothing but work to get this far. Why would the NFL be any different? Foskey’s on his way, but there’s still work to do.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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