(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller).
Name: Kyler Fuller
College: Virginia Tech
Honors: Fuller was a first-team All-ACC pick by the league coaches and a third-team All-ACC pick by the media in 2013. He earned an honorable mention for All-ACC in 2012 and a second-team All-ACC pick in 2011.
Key stat: Fuller missed five of the Hokies’ 13 games in 2013, and he made nine starts. He finished the season with just 24 tackles and two interceptions, but in that same span he broke up 10 passes – second on the team for the season.
Where He’s Projected: You don’t typically hear Fuller included in the same breath as Oklahoma State’s Brandon Gilbert or Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, who are widely considered the top cornerback prospects in this draft. Ever since he posted a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, though, his stock has continued to climb. The prevailing logic indicates he’ll be an early-to-mid second round pick, if he doesn’t wind up going in the first round.
How He Helps the Cowboys: There’s no denying the secondary struggled last season, and a young, talented addition at either corner or safety could be a big help. On top of that, Fuller has a lot of experience playing zone coverage from his time at Virginia Tech, which could make him appealing depending on how Rod Marinelli wants to handle coverage this year.
It’s worth noting that the Cowboys are heavily invested in the position with
Scout’s Take: Plays mainly in zone coverage but you will see him in man when he covers out of the slot. Turns quickly and is able to adjust on the move. He was used as a slot blitzer by the Hokies, but without much success. There were a couple of snaps where he had a chance to get home on the quarterback and just didn’t make it.
He will physically wrap up as a tackler, and he is aggressive in the way that he will take on blockers, shed, then get to the ball. Will play sideways in his pedal when in zone coverage. He shows the balance to recover when receiver tries to move him. Plays with awareness and quick reactions. He’ll stay in position on the route.
Importantly for a cornerback, Fuller plays with stop-start quickness. He gave up a double move against Pitt. He knows how to cut off a route. He is a long and rangy player and plays with a great deal of confidence and instincts. It was rare that you see him out of position in the defense.
He knows where he needs to fit and handles those assignments. Outstanding fit for the type of defense that the Cowboys play. Of the top cornerbacks in this draft, looks to be best suited to play well in either man or zone. – Bryan Broaddus