As the Steelers get ready to start training camp, we have been profiling a couple of long shots to crack the final 53 man roster this week. Today we will continue undrafted free agent offensive lineman, Ramon Foster.
Steelers rookie free agent offensive lineman, Ramon Foster has one thing on his side and that is a bloodline. Foster has three brothers currently playing in pro sports. Brother Renardo is a currently on the St. Louis Rams roster as a backup offensive lineman, Ron plays professional basketball in Puerto Rico and Rodney plays basketball for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Foster hopes to keep the tradition of getting paid to play pro sports as he attempts to earn a roster spot at training camp with the Steelers.
The 6-6, 325 pound tackle from Tennessee was projected as a late round draft pick in the NFL draft, but failed to hear his name called. The Steelers were one of many teams looking to sign him after the draft. Foster was a three-year starter at UT and started every game for the Vols the final two years at school. Foster displays excellent height and muscle and has long arms. He has been scouted as very strong and powerful and excels in run blocking. He has good work ethic and displays great leadership. Some drawbacks are his footwork and balance and his range is described as limited. His hand work also needs improvement.
Late in the Steeler spring OTA sessions, Foster worked primarily at the guard position. The move to guard is likely to test how versatile Foster is at playing both guard and tackle on both sides of the center. The Steelers carried five tackles on the roster in 2009 and did not draft a tackle in the 2009 draft. This will give Foster a chance to earn a backup spot behind Darnell Stapleton, Trai Essex, Chris Kemoeatu, Willie Colon and Max Starks. The initial competition for Foster in camp will be second year tackle Tony Hills and third year free agents Jason Capizzi and Jeremy Parquet. Foster will be given every shot at earning one of either 9 or 10 offensive lineman spots and his ability to play both spots will play a huge determining factor in it.
Overall I think that Foster can indeed crack the 53 man roster. If second year tackle Hills struggles and fails to improve, the Steelers could very well cut bait with him. Capizzi and Parquet should offer up only limited competition for Foster. If Foster struggles any, he is almost a certain lock to at worst end up on the practice squad, but I truly believe he will indeed live to see the 53 man team. Make sure to watch him close in pre-season.