2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Isaiah Foskey
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Over the history of the storied Notre Dame program, no player was as productive as Foskey at getting after the quarterback. He set the Fighting Irish career sack record over three seasons by consistently taking down the signal-caller. Foskey started things out in 2020 with 4.5 sacks and 20 tackles while playing as rotational defender. He then broke out in 2021, recording 11 sacks, six forced fumbles and 52 tackles. In 2022, he totaled 45 stops, 11 sacks and a forced fumble.
Foskey is a talented pass rusher capable of making a difference for his defense. He has a good first-step and burst off the ball to get upfield. His quickness allow him to gain ground and then put pressure on the quarterback. Foskey is adept at getting on the edges of offensive tackles to achieve penetration while also using his hands at the same time to try and keep them from locking onto him. Foskey flashes some speed-to-power ability when he has lineman backpedaling and some upper body strength to manipulate off-balance tackles.
For NFL, however, Foskey faces limitations as a pass rusher. He is a big defensive lineman who has some serious stiffness and a lack of agility. Those things lead to him having some issues with redirecting toward the quarterback or with getting turned to the signal-caller after his quickness allows him to get upfield. Foskey is unable to sink his hips to dip underneath offensive tackles, and that could lead to him getting pushed around the pocket by NFL edge blockers. While Foskey is not a slow lumbering lineman, he is not a pure speed demon off the edge. Thus, he is quicker than fast. Foskey is going to have to beat pro blockers mainly based off his power and physicality.
As a run defender, Foskey is solid. He has a strong build alongside the length to set a tough edge at the point of attack. Foskey can hold his ground in run defense, maintaining his gap and rarely ever getting pushed back. He has the power and good hands to fight off blocks to get in on tackles of ball-carriers.
In the 2023 NFL Draft, Foskey could be a first- or second-round pick.
Player Comparison: A.J. Epenesa. Foskey is reminiscent of Epenesa coming out of Iowa. Both are tough at the point of attack to set the edge and provide solid run defense. They put together speed and sack production in college, but stiffness is a problem for performing effectively against NFL offensive tackles. As pro, I could see Foskey being like Epenesa as a contributor in the pass rush, but not being an elite sack producer.
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