Cornerbacks are always prime pickings coming out of college with the widespread popularity of the passing game. So where does this place Virginia Tech standout Kendall Fuller? Perhaps his 2016 NFL draft scouting report offers some answers.
School: Virginia Tech
Weight: 197 lbs
Brother to current pros Kyle Fuller (Chicago) and Corey Fuller (Detroit), Kendall comes from family rich in athletic tradition. He played offense and defense in high school and also ran track. By graduation he was the #2 corner in the country and committed to Virginia Tech where he would played with older brother Kyle.
During his time with the Hokies, Fuller compiled eight interceptions, 3.5 sacks and 119 tackles. His junior season was cut short after three games due to a season-ending knee injury
- A nice mix of size and speed. Shows he can match up body to body with big receivers and still run with the vertical threats as well.
- Shows good fluidity and footwork in his backpedal. Able to flip his hips and run with receivers without losing speed.
- Aggressive with his hands. Uses them to play physical with the receiver at the line of scrimmage.
- Good burst allows him to be an effective blitzer, able to get around the edge quick before blockers can pick him up.
Here Fuller shows man coverage on the outside, waits for the quarterback to begin his cadence and begins to sneak along the line of scrimmage. He makes sure not to jump offsides and then explodes into the backfield. By the time the quarterback feels his pressure, it’s too late. Fuller gets hold of him and then has the presence of mind to swat the ball out of his hands, forcing a fumble return for a touchdown.
- Natural pass catching ability. Has soft enough hands to make the interception.
- Plays well at corner but shows the center fielder awareness and willingness to tackle that would make a good free safety.
- Struggles to shed blockers. Receivers find it easy to control him once latched on.
- Can get caught looking in the backfield, allowing receivers to get behind him.
Like a lot of corners, Fuller seems like the type who prefers to play the quarterback rather than the receiver. This can work at times, but it also proves dangerous. This play offers an example as he loses track of the receiver, who gets in behind him for a big gain and a 1st down.
- Tends to concede inside position to receiver too often, making for easier completions.
- Must get better at turning his head when running with receivers downfield. Has been caught with a number of pass interference calls.
Pro Comparison: Josh Norman
In terms of body type, athleticism, length and versatility Fuller does indeed share a lot in common with the Carolina Panthers All-Pro. However, it’s important to remember Josh Norman was never a sure thing. He was a 5th round pick and developed into a star. Coming from a bigger program has just gotten Fuller noticed more by national scouts.
Projection: 2nd to 3rd rounds
An injury during the season and his inconsistencies in coverage will likely scare some teams away from considering Fuller on Day 1 unless he’s able to blow up the combine and pro days. There is no question he has NFL talent and shouldn’t last beyond Day 2.