School: Virginia Tech
Size: 5'11 5/8, 190 lbs
Expected Round: Top 40
Strengths: Team captain. Won numerous leadership awards at school. Football family (four brothers, two in the NFL, one a freshman DB at VT). Made All-Conference teams the pass three years. Attacks the football in coverage, while not opening lanes for the receiver. He was the most targeted corner at the top of the draft, but he was the best defender. Rarely beaten on intermediate and deep throws. Flexible to play in multiple schemes. Plays the receiver's hands and has quick reflexes to defend the ball. Fluid hips. Willing and able to defend the run; can shed his blockers. Explosive, quick, fast.
Weaknesses: Injuries. Groin injury. Surgery on his core. Shoulder injury. Finger injury. He's basically Aqib Talib. Someone with undeniable talent and is a game changer when on the field, but is a risk every time he gets hit. He may not miss full games, but he gets taken out for a few plays here-and-there. Could do well to get stronger. Limited, albeit successful, experience in press. Can be turned around by double moves.
What is their role? Fuller is a potential day 1 starter at cornerback. He can challenge for time as a rare scheme-transcendent cornerback. While Alfonzo Dennard might be limited to press coverage, Fuller is like Talib and can play in any set.
Will it change from year 1 to year 2? If Dennard isn't resigned, then Fuller could emerge as a starter (and if he beats out Logan Ryan). Fuller has the potential to be a lockdown corner in the right scheme.
How many downs can he play? Four downs. He can cover, defend the run, and be a gunner.
Which current player will he beat out? Justin Green. Tavon Wilson's roster spot. Could possibly beat out Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, and Alfonzo Dennard for starting time.
What’s his ST value? Gunner. Plays on coverage units.
Does he have positional versatility? He's a corner, although he could likely make the Devin McCourty-move to free safety if needed.
Why the Patriots? Watch his game against Alabama to see his potential. If Talib walks, then Fuller is a day 1 starter. If Talib stays, then Fuller can challenge for the CB2 role, especially as Alfonzo Dennard enters the final season of his contract. Fuller's value might be lower due to injury and seems like he would be a great fit for the Patriots defense (where have we heard that before). He provides starter insurance as Arrington, Dennard, and Talib just can't stay healthy and you really can't have enough starting depth.
Why not the Patriots? Where have we heard this story before? Can he overcome his injuries, or will he be another Ras-I Dowling/Terrence Wheatley? Fuller will likely be drafted at the top or middle of the second round and the Patriots would have to maneuver around to draft him at that slot- and if they get to that slot, there are players with just as high grades who fill much greater needs.
Verdict: I absolutely love Fuller's game. He's going to make a team extremely happy and he's going to thrive. I could see him going to the Titans and taking Alterraun Verner's vacated spot from day 1 and playing well. I just don't see him coming to the Patriots.