From the outset of the NFL offseason to the weeks following the NFL Combine, few players have seen their draft stock elevate more quickly than Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller.
The corner, who originally projected as a likely second-round draft choice, is now viewed by many as a top-three corner to be selected in May, joined by Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert and Michigan State Darqueze Dennard.
At 6 feet and 190 pounds, Fuller possesses the stature that has increasingly become favorable to NFL teams in search of cover corners to neutralize the game’s more dynamic receivers. Fuller exited the Combine having turned in a mixed bag in timed drills. He ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash, which ranked 13th overall. However, both his vertical and broad jumps were among the top at his position.
What Fuller may lack in the overall quickness of Gilbert and Dennard, he more than makes up for with both his positioning and ball skills. As a possible late first-round selection, Fuller could contribute right away either in pass defense or on special teams.
Fuller was named first-team All-ACC as a senior at Virginia Tech, a year that included a pair of interceptions and 10 deflected passes. He garnered the honor despite playing in a conference that included two of the nation’s elite passing offenses, in Clemson and national champion Florida State, led by Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston.
Fuller also comes from a football family, as his two older brothers have also built careers in the NFL. Vincent Fuller played six years with the Tennessee Titans, all of which were played under current Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Corey Fuller was a member of the Detroit Lions’ practice squad in 2013. Fuller’s younger brother Kendall also just completed his freshman year as a corner at Virginia Tech.
Though the feeling is hardly unanimous, more of the league’s respected draft analysts have given Fuller a bump in recent weeks, particularly in relation to smaller corners such as Justin Verrett of TCU and LaMarcus Joyner of Florida State. Mike Mayock of NFL.com recently ranked Fuller as the draft’s second-best draft prospect at corner, just behind Dennard and ahead of Gilbert.
As for Fuller, the allure of a potential first-round selection certainly exists for the soon-to-be NFL rookie.
“I would love to go in the first round, that’s one of my goals,” Fuller said while meeting with the assembled media at the Combine. “I believe I’m a first-round pick, but I’m not focused on that. Whatever team takes me, I’ll be happy to be with them.”
With his draft stock rising steadily, it appears Fuller isn’t the only one envisioning the 21-year-old as a first-round option.