|Class:||Senior||40 time:||4.45 (proj.)|
While it lacks a standout star, the cornerback group in the 2014 NFL Draft class is one of the deepest among all the positions. And while he has largely flown under the radar in draft discussions this far, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller has a chance to be one of the best cornerbacks in this year’s draft.
Fuller has a big frame for a cornerback, and while he could still probably benefit from putting on more weight, he already plays with an immense amount of physicality, which will aid him against big receivers in the NFL. In the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl, Fuller did a great job of covering 6-foot-6 Rutgers receiver Brandon Coleman, showing that he can handle even the biggest of targets.
There’s no glaring area of weakness in Fuller’s coverage ability, as he is stout in standard man-to-man and press coverage. He has good movement skills and doesn’t let up on the player he’s covering. While his run defending skills are more pedestrian, he is able to come off blocks with ease and is a consistently good tackler.
It certainly wouldn’t hurt Fuller to become a better playmaker, as he’s had two interceptions in each of his past three seasons, which have gone for a total of ten yards and no touchdowns. If there’s anything to be seriously concerned about with Fuller, however, it’s his long-term health.
Fuller had been dealing with a groin injury since the early part of this season, and then an ailment which Virginia Tech classified simply as a “core muscle injury” ended up requiring surgery. Fuller tried to return for the Hokies’ bowl game, but was still too injured to participate. Though he started every game during his sophomore and junior seasons and was healthy for the entirety of his freshman year, he did also deal with a shoulder injury as a junior, so he may draw concerns from some personnel departments.
Ultimately, Fuller probably slots in as an early second round talent, though injury concerns could drop him lower in the draft. I currently have him going to the St. Louis Rams in the second round of my 2014 Mock Draft, but if he can’t get healthy enough to showcase himself during pre-draft workouts, he may have issues recovering his stock.
- Good size
- Positions himself well
- Reliable in press coverage
- Can match up with the biggest of receivers and handle them capably
- Good at coming off blocks and recovering to make plays
- Plus hands, talented at swatting balls down
- Solid tackler, somewhat of a leg diver but is physical enough that it is effective
- Very physical, does not let up on his man
- Good, quick bursts of acceleration
- Coming off a core muscle injury which required surgery and ended his senior season early
- Not much of a run defender
- Could stand to be a better defensive playmaker
Fuller was off to a solid start in the Hokies’ first seven games before suffering an injury which limited him at first and ultimately sidelined him for the remainder of the season, including Virginia Tech’s appearance in the Hyundai Sun Bowl last week. Through four non-conference games and three conference contests, Fuller ended up with 24 total tackles, two interceptions, and 10 passes defended.
2014 Draft Projection: Second Round