With the regular season well behind us, our focus has shifted to the offseason and the 2014 NFL Draft. For the next few months, We will be providing scouting reports on draft prospects. Some of these players the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at, while others we breakdown will be off the board before the Steelers select. All of this is done to make you as prepared as possible for the draft.
Today we will scout Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Kyle Fuller/CB Virginia Tech: 5’11” 194
– Nice size and length
– Athletic with good change of direction
– Mentally tough
– Willing tackler against the run
– Experience in off, press and zone coverages
– Played both sides and also in slot
– NFL bloodline
– Good special teams player
– Good understanding of angles
– Above average technique with a nice backpedal and hip turn
– Played well against top college competition
– Injury concerns
– Long speed questions need to be answered
– Needs to learn to use sideline better as an extra defender
– Splash play deficient
– Needs to improve tackling technique
– Will turn and run too early instead of staying square
– Could stand to be more physical with jams off of the line when in press-man
– 2013 Team captain
– 2013 Second-Team All-American (Walter Camp)
– 2013 Coaches First-Team All-ACC
– 2013 Third-Team All-ACC
– 2012 Honorable Mention All-ACC
– 2012 Coaches All-ACC Honorable Mention
– 2011 Second-Team All-ACC
Not having access to All-22 coaches tape really makes defensive backs tough to breakdown as regular television tape doesn’t show you everything. Fuller, however, does jump out on the TV tape and if you are in to cornerback metrics, I highly suggest you read up here on how the Hokie stacks up against the other top cornerbacks in the nation.
A lot of the gifs below come from the season opener last year against Alabama. Why? Because I thought he really showed a good selection of pluses and minuses in that game and it was against top-notch competition
One of the traits that will endear Fuller to several teams is that he isn’t afraid to stick his face in the fan. In other words, he’s willing to come up and tackle the run. While his technique needs some work, here is a clip of him against Alabama making a shoulder tackle. He does, however, injury himself in doing so. You would like to see him wrap up and bring his feet instead of using the shoulder.
While the end result on this play is a positive, Fuller, as I mentioned above in the weaknesses, likes to open up too soon at times. Below, he gets turned around in man coverage from the slot as the receiver breaks inside as soon as he turns open to the sideline. His athleticism allows him to recover, however, and he registers a pass defensed.
A good job in trail coverage here from the inside out as he mirrors the receiver all the way through the route.
A good job here by Fuller of not getting himself turned around and he beats the receiver to the ball for an interception.
Fuller has paid his dues on special teams during his college career and he’s not afraid to deliver a blow when it’s called for.
Once again, the result is fine here, but with outside leverage he still allows the receiver a free release to the outside. Fuller likes to rely way too much on his ability to recover and that won’t fly at the NFL level.
Another run stop here against Alabama. Like I already mentioned, he’s not afraid of contact.
I will say this, Fuller really uses those long arms of his well and believes that he can make a play on every ball in the air in his vicinity.
Here Fuller is being a victim of a double move for a touchdown against North Carolina.
Want a kid with versatility? The next three gifs are against Georgia Tech where Fuller was asked to play the whip linebacker position to defend against the Yellow Jacket flexbone offense. He was asked to do that plenty of times throughout his college career against Georgia Tech.
During his recent conference call, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said he has Fuller as his third best cornerback in the draft and when you watch his tape, you can see why he really likes the kid.
At the combine, Fuller’s medical evaluation will need to be through. He missed several games last season with a groin injury and reportedly needed surgery to repair a sports hernia midway through the season that resulted in him being shut down for good.
Also at the combine, Fuller will need to show that he has long speed as his weakness seems to be running deep against vertical routes. He plays much better with the ball in front of him and he loves to read and jump routes. If he runs fast at the combine and his medical checks out, he might very well find himself as a first-round prospect.
While Fuller had a huge amount of pass breakups at Virginia Tech, he only registered six career interceptions. I kind of was expecting that number to be a little higher based on how much he played.
Can he make the move to free safety if asked to? Yes, and I don’t think that a lot about many young cornerbacks.
Fuller comes from a football family and teams will like that. Vincent Fuller was a safety for several years in the league and Corey Fuller was a practice squad wide receiver last year. His younger brother is still at Virginia Tech.
Fuller would be a perfect fit for the Steelers. His technique flaws should be easy to fix and he figures to be starter in the NFL for several seasons. Is he worthy of the 15th overall selection like Mayock hints? Probably not and that might be the Steelers only chance to draft him as I doubt he will still be on the board when they pick in the second round. He would be a steal in round two for any team, in my honest opinion.
Projection: Mid 1st to early 2nd Round
Games Watched: vs Alabama, vs North Carolina, at Georgia Tech
Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Stanford ILB Shayne Skov/a>
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner
Boston College RB Andre Williams
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Tennessee NT Daniel McCullers
Colorado State DE/OLB Shaquil Barrett
Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio
Tennessee T Antonio Richardson
Central Florida RB Storm Johnson