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Sources Tell Us: Scout compares Reuben Foster to Luke Kuechly

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NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein is constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, Zierlein will share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.

Sources Tell Us: Sept. 7 | Sept. 14


The scoop: "I think Reuben Foster is going to get drafted way earlier than people expect. (Luke) Kuechly got drafted early and I think Foster has the same (expletive) to him." -- NFC scout on the Alabama LB

The skinny: For the record, Kuechly was drafted ninth overall in the 2012 draft and has been the best middle linebacker in the game ever since. What this scout means is that Foster plays with the same nastiness as Kuechly, which is a high compliment to pay the Alabama linebacker. Foster is known as an angry hitter with bad intentions. What doesn't get enough attention is his speed to go sideline to sideline in order to chase down plays. Foster's style fits any scheme and he has the ability to stay on the field on third downs. Add up his size (6-foot-1, 240 pounds, per school measurements), speed and ability, and you have the makings of a first-round inside linebacker with star potential.

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The scoop: "This was my first time seeing Chad Kelly in person. For supposedly having such a strong arm, he sure did have his share of underthrows." -- NFC scout on the Ole Miss QB's performance vs. Alabama

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The skinny: Kelly has the ability to put plenty of zip on most of his short to intermediate throws, but was plagued by some deep-ball shots that came up a little short against Alabama. While there are different ways to view and evaluate arm strength, my guess is that this scout will see enough arm when he gets in-depth with tape study of Kelly. With that said, Kelly has to do a better job of giving his receivers a chance to run under the deep balls rather than coming back and fighting for 50-50 balls down the field.

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The scoop: "That offensive line at Tennessee is a mess. I think (Jalen) Hurd is really talented but he's going to have to get his own yards because they aren't going to open enough holes for him. I always feel like running backs who have it too easy struggle when they make it into the league, but Hurd won't have it too easy at all." -- AFC scout

The skinny: When it comes to creating yardage through tackle breaking and physicality, Hurd is your guy. At 6-4, 240 pounds, Hurd has the freakish size to batter opposing tacklers, but he also has top-end speed to run away from people when he has a runway. So far, the Vols are off to a less-than-impressive start and their offensive line's shoddy play isn't helping. Hurd has a similar running style to 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, even though Hurd's numbers might not be as representative of that comparison this year.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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