The Miami Dolphins have new coaches, and personnel for 2012. At the wide receiver spot they brought in Chad Johnson and Legedu Naanee, plus drafted B.J. Cunningham and Rishard Matthews. Miami has long-time ‘Phins Davone Bess and Brian Hartline who will get playing time. Plus projects like Clyde Gates, Marlon Moore, Julius Pruitt, and Roberto Wallace all vying for a roster spot. The team is likely going to carry 6 WRs, so hard to be optimistic about undrafted rookie Jeff Fuller Jr and his chances to land a spot on the 53-man roster.
However, word is the 6’4″ 215 Texas A&M University product is impressing early on. As far as undrafted rookies go Fuller is not typical. For one thing the Dolphins drafted Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill to run their show (someday anyway) who has a ton of knowledge/experience working with Fuller. Tannehill is unlikely to open 2012 as a starter, so perhaps it is logical that Fuller can stick around on the practice squad. Although the word is he is pushing for a 53-man roster spot. Also, the coach that brought Fuller to Texas A&M was new ‘Phins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Fuller was this close to becoming an Oklahoma Sooner, but when A&M brought in Sherman and his pro-style offense Fuller changed his mind. How many rookie WRs have their QB, and their o-coordinator with them as they try to step up to the NFL level? Potentially nice set-up for Fuller.
There are aspects of Fuller’s game that are NFL-ready. He has good hands. Strong hands. He catches the ball away from his body. Very solid in contributing to the run game as an outside blocker. Athletic. Can catch a pass at it’s highest point (at 6’4″ that is a very good thing). Good speed (not great, but good…4.6/40 yard dash)
Fuller also has a football family. His dad is former NFL safety Jeff Fuller Sr. He is a guy San Francisco 49ers fans will remember fondly as a fierce hitter.
As with any rookie (especially undrafted) there are areas that need improvement for Fuller as well. His senior season at A&M was good (tons of catches) but his yards and TDs were down. This is a guy once considered a first round draft pick (especially coming off fantastic junior season). Those projections became middle-round pick, and eventually Fuller ended up undrafted. Coach Joe Philbin, and Sherman teach/preach technique. That might be the #1 word at camp for Miami – technique. Well Fuller needs to improve his. Especially vs press/man-to-man coverage. Too often he allows a cornerback to be physical with him and knock him off his route. Fuller has long strides so does not have explosive acceleration. He has limited ability after the catch, much more of a possession WR.
The Miami WR depth chart is crowded currently. However with no huge stand-outs a guy like Jeff Fuller can take advantage of his knowledge of the coach/system and “sneak” a spot on the 53-man roster. If the rumors are true out of Miami, then that will end up being “earned a spot” on the 53-man roster
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