Many of the major media draftniks still seem to be conflicted about where they believe Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller will be selected next week when the 2014 NFL Draft gets underway. However, one well respected and connected NFL Network analyst has heard that the Pittsburgh Steelers are seriously considering taking Fuller with the 15th overall selection.
During a Friday interview on The David Todd Show, Daniel Jeremiah revealed the latest he’s heard about the Steelers and Fuller.
“I’ll be honest with you, I talked with somebody the other day and we were talking about different teams, and what they were going to do, and he told me, ‘Hey, if your looking for Pittsburgh and what Pittsburgh’s going to do, I’m telling right now, they’re going to take Kyle Fuller,’ said Jeremiah. “That’s what some people in the league feel like, just how he fits with what they do and the needs they have, and that’s the name I was given.”
This, in my opinion, is very believable and I would be 100 percent on board with it if it winds up happening. For starters, Fuller’s play does indeed fit what the Steelers do on defense. In addition, he has a solid character, was a team captain at Virginia Tech and has an NFL bloodline.
Recently, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock moved Fuller into the top spot of his cornerback rankings ahead of Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard. That move, however, really wasn’t overly surprising as Mayock has gushed over Fuller as far back as February during his first media conference call. At that time, Mayock called Fuller a “first-round talent.”
On Thursday, Mayock again heaped praise on Fuller during his last conference call with the media prior to the draft.
“Kyle Fuller is one of my favorite players in the whole draft,” Mayock said. “What’s interesting about the corners is that most of the personnel guys have [Bradley] Roby and [Justin] Gilbert as their highest rated corners just because they have better movement skills.
“Most of the coaches like Fuller and [Darqueze] Dennard because they’re better football players today. You know what you’re getting. Fuller is my No. 1 corner, first- round corner. He has it in his DNA. He can play on, off, he can play man or zone.”
I think there’s a good chance that both Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard could be off the board by the time the Steelers first-round pick rolls around. Surely one of them will be and if that’s the case, a pretty good 14 minute discussion might start in the Steelers draft war room.
While I like both Gilbert and Dennard, I really have a hard time saying that both are really superior to Fuller in the tape study that I’ve done on those three players. In fact, I think it comes down to system fits with all three of them as they really are that close.
While the Steelers reportedly did have Fuller in for a pre draft visit, there was never any report of head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert attending his Pro Day. Their apparent absence from that event is not a deal breaker, however, as they quite possibly could have put him trough a private workout after the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine took placewithout anybody knowing about it. In addition, he started 42 games at Virginia Tech and played in 50 total, so it’s not like they didn’t already know quite a bit about him.
I think there’s a good chance that the Steelers consider Fuller to be one of those “special players” that Colbert always talks about come draft time and I will not be surprised one bit if he winds up being their first round pick. In fact, I might be more surprised if he isn’t the pick at this point. It makes too much sense and Fuller certainly fits a need.
Fuller, who missed four games last season along with the Senior Bowl due to a sports hernia that ultimately required surgery, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds at the combine where he also had a 38.5-inch vertical leap, a 10-8 broad jump and bench pressed 225 pounds a 12 times. He is also about to become the third Fuller brother to be drafted into the NFL, following wide receiver Corey Fuller and defensive back Vincent Fuller.