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Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller (17) celebrates with safety Kyshoen Jarrett (34) after making an interception in the fourth quarter. The Hokies defeated the Tar Heels 27-17 at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Kyle Fuller

 

The SideLion Report NFL Draft Prospect Profile series gives an in-depth scouting analysis of college football players who could be on the Lions’ radar this spring.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve examined numerous first round candidates for the  Detroit Lions.  As the draft inches closer, SideLion Report will highlight prospects the franchise may be looking at in the second round.

If Detroit wants to get back to the playoffs, they have to build their team to win through the division.  And with two division rivals who have passing attacks that were among the top ten in the NFL in 2013 (Chicago– fifth, Green Bay– sixth), it’s no secret the Lions need to improve the quality of their secondary.  Sure, the Lions have a lot of promise on paper with the players currently on the roster.  However, after spending multiple picks on cornerbacks in recent drafts, they still lack two quality starters at the position.  To wit, the team has brought in numerous cornerbacks for pre-draft visits including Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert, and Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller.

Fuller missed the meat of his 2013 season due to hernia surgery, so I went back to view three games from his junior season (Clemson, Miami, Florida State) before giving him a 6.9 grade (early second round).

Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:

Kyle Fuller – Cornerback – Virginia Tech

Height: 5116  Weight: 190   40 Time: 4.49

NFL Comparison: Captain Munnerlyn

Strong Points:

Adequate size.  Very good overall athletic characteristics.  Possesses fluid hips, quick feet and balance to mirror receivers off the LOS.  Has the long speed to stay with most receivers downfield.  Good instincts and awareness.  Tough and willing run support defender.  High football character.  

Weak Points:

Lean frame – needs to add strength. Lacks upper echelon speed and quick twitch traits.  Exhibits some tightness in transition.  Press technique and zone discipline are raw.  Average ball skills.  Durability concerns.

Summary:

An All-ACC performer the past three seasons, Fuller played multiple positions during his career in Blacksburg (whip linebacker, safety, cornerback and nickel).  Three and a half year starter (42 career starts) with numerous accolades.  Fuller lacks elite athletic characteristics; however his instincts, competitiveness and versatility will allow him to contribute in a variety of ways at the next level.  He showcases the quick feet, fluidity and balance to mirror receivers from press or off coverage.  However, his lack of upper echelon speed/suddenness presents some man coverage limitations if he allows separation.  His anticipation/route recognition skills allow him to play faster than his timed speed.  Perhaps most impressive are his run support skills – Fuller consistently showed a willingness to attack ball carriers aggressively.  He should be able to contribute early as a sub-package defender and become a productive starter after adding strength and refining his technique.  Early second round, scheme versatile number two corner with plus intangibles and instincts.  

Fuller isn’t elite, but he’s a very good athlete and his competitiveness, instincts and high football character ensure he will be a productive starter at the next level.  In a corner class weak on top shelf talent, he could be drafted higher than his grade warrants.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Detroit Lions Kyle Fuller NFL Draft Top Cornerback Prospects Virginia Tech Football

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