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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Arian Foster Wouldn’t Have Drafted Himself Out of College

Arian Foster led the NFL in rushing yards (1,616), yards from scrimmage (2,220), rushing touchdowns (16) and total touchdowns (18) last season. He’s seventh in the NFL in rushing yards this season despite missing two games with a hamstring injury. He’s also third in receiving yards by a running back, slightly behind Ray Rice and Darren Sproles. What makes Foster’s accomplishments even more impressive is that he was undrafted coming out of college. The only other undrafted running back who put up similar stats is Priest Holmes.

You might wonder how such a talented player went undrafted while 20 other running backs were picked in 2009, but there are several reasons why. One, Foster’s combine-type stats weren’t too impressive. Two, he shared carries in his senior seasons at Tennessee, so his college stats didn’t stand out. Three, he had an attitude issue that he admits was so bad he wouldn’t have even drafted himself. I finally had a chance to watch Foster’s E:60 profile, and I was surprised to hear him say that.

“I had a real bitter taste in my mouth leaving the University of Tennessee,” he said. “My attitude was … I didn’t care. In 2009, following my senior season, I entered my name to the NFL draft. I wasn’t expecting to go the first two days. Finally the 7th round comes and somebody from the Seattle Seahawks calls me and says ‘how do you feel about being picked?’ I was so upset at the time — and this is really bad — my attitude was like ‘yeah man, that would be OK.’

“I wouldn’t have picked me either, honestly,” Foster admitted. “When the draft ended, I felt like my NFL dreams did too.”

Texans GM Rick Smith says not a lot of good things were being said about Foster when he was coming out of college. Arian signed on to Houston’s practice squad, and because of injuries, he ended up playing the final four games of the season. He scored three touchdowns in the team’s final two games, and thanks to preseason injuries, he ended up as the team’s feature back in 2010. The rest is history.

Foster isn’t the first player to have attitude problems coming out of college. The good news is he was able to channel the disappointment into motivation, and that has helped him become a star.

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