Overview: A third team All-ACC selection in the 2013 season despite missing the final 4 games of his senior year due to injury, Kyle Fuller has been steadily climbing draft boards since the season concluded. He’s definitely on the radar for the Bears as a trade down option, but might actually possess the physical characteristics for Phil Emery to reach for him at 14 this May. Fuller has the length (6-0, with arms measuring nearly 33 inches) that has become the “in thing” in the NFL these days, and corner backs built like him simply don’t grow on trees so I expect him to almost certainly go higher than he’s projected in this year’s draft.
- Tremendous instincts. Shows remarkable ability to read the receiver’s body language and jumps routes with ease. Sometimes looks like he is running the route for the receiver.
- Good tackler. Not just willing, but has sound technique and fights his way through traffic well.
- Plays big. Should have little trouble matching up against bigger, more physical NFL receivers.
- Uses his exceptional leaping ability to make plays on the ball. Jumped 38 inches in the vertical and 128 inches in the broad jump at the combine. Doesn’t catch the ball as well as you’d like, but that’s why he plays defense, right?
- Uses hands well. Jams the receiver well and gets position early in the play.
- Extensive special teams work. Could make an immediate impact as a 4-phase player.
- Poor hands. Lets the ball get into his body too much and does not look natural catching the football. A little too content to go for the tip, rather than the pick.
- Has troubles in open field tackling. Has difficulty breaking down and making the play when the ball carrier has multiple ways to get around him.
- Jumps routes a little too much. He’s just a little too eager, making him highly susceptible to double-moves.
- Questionable recovery speed. When he gets beaten early in the play, he tends to stay that way.
NFL Player Comparison: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks. While Sherman is markedly bigger than Fuller, Fuller plays bigger than he is and their playing styles are very similar. Both are good tacklers and very aggressive in run support. Both are physical with receivers and aggressive jumping routes. Both can get caught by double-moves. Richard Sherman is an incredible aggressive corner, who can get away with his reckless style of play due to stellar safety play behind him. If placed in a similar situation, I think Kyle Fuller would have similar results. His interception totals would likely be less than Sherman’s, but the in-game impact would be similar.
The Way I See It: Kyle Fuller is probably my second favorite cornerback in this draft class, behind Justin Gilbert. That having been said, I’d be a little miffed if the Bears made him their pick at 14. Though I was a little miffed the past two drafts when Phil Emery selected Shea McClellin and Kyle Long respectively in the first rounds of their drafts, so there’s probably a decent chance of this happening. I would neither cheer, nor boo this pick. I would just hope that Phil Emery and the Bears brain trust are smarter than I am and start looking for reasons why I was wrong.