The Virginia Tech Hokies have one of the deepest rosters in terms of the cornerback position as anyone in the country and they have several that could end up playing in the NFL. One of those players is Kyle Fuller, who has been a four year player for the Hokies and head coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies have had some real issues on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense led by defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been able to put together a talented unit through most of his career.
Fuller has a nice combination of length, strength and the ability to accelerate. He is extremely aggressive and loves to attack forward and try to make plays on the football. His hips do not appear overly fluid but he accelerates extremely well and can close distance and has the length to make plays on the football. Fuller is also an aggressive run defender but has some bad habits to eliminate with launching his body. With everything Fuller brings to the table and the number of different schemes he can play in should make it so he is selected in the top 75 picks.
Vitals & Build
Fuller is listed as 6’ 194lbs with a long frame and solid functional strength. His hips are not spectacular when it comes to opening up and flipping, but much of that might be due to how much Fuller is always looking to play forward. Fuller’s length and speed allow him to go down the field and cover deep and his acceleration is impressive. There still seems to be potential to add strength on his frame without losing anything at this point.
Fuller is aggressive and really brings a lot of power. He can make big time tackles at times and usually wraps up well, but too often, Fuller leaves his feet and just throws himself at the opponent. When he is right, it works, but when he misses, it is ugly and there have been examples where by virtue of not having his feet under him able to drive, he simply fell off of the tackle and was unable to make the play. There are times when Fuller does a good job, gets his feet under him, wraps up and can make a good tackle. Those need to happen more commonly for Fuller to be a consistently effective tackler. Fuller does put in effort to try to rip the ball out whether defending passes or trying to make tackles, so he is always working to create turnovers.
Fuller is a player looking to make an impact and is not afraid to come downhill and try to make a play. He does tend to throw his body into running backs more than anyone else which needs to be adjusted but he has shown he can make plays and will get after it.
While he can still work to get better, Fuller is not afraid to take on blocks and try to get through to get plays. He is not looking to simply run around them, but will try to fight through when faced with it. His strength and arm length can make it a little easier to keep them out of their body.
Fuller looks capable of developing into a strong side corner and is currently playing on the weak side because of Antone Exum, who is an extremely yoked up corner. Fuller was the go-to run stopping corner when Exum was out as he recovered from an ACL tear, but Exum is their guy. Fuller is still good and when both are in, they have a great set of run stopping corners in play.
Fuller is more comfortable and more confident in off man coverage but he is able to play up on the line as well. When he is lined up near the line, he can do a better job with his hands and getting a jam and ends up being more physical in off man coverage. He really has a great sense of how to find the football, so he can flip and run and locate the football and get a hand in and break up a pass. When he is not trying so hard to lean forward and play opponents a little more honestly such as he did against Alabama, Fuller can be really impressive with how well he can turn and run.
Fuller loves to play off man because he is extremely aggressive and is looking for any opportunity he can to jump on routes and make plays on the football. At times, he can get caught being too aggressive but he has shown pretty good instincts and does a good job of reading and mirroring routes. His length and strength allow him to get in position, get hands on the ball and potentially create turnovers. Fuller makes it dangerous to throw at him and can make teams pay for it when given the opportunity.
Fuller tends to play more off man but he is extremely well suited to play in zone, either in a Cover-2 scheme or for a team that likes to mix up coverages with both man and zone and disguise what they are doing. He sees well, breaks on the ball effectively and appears to have good spatial awareness and knowing how far he can go and how close he needs to be in order to make a play.
Fuller is a guy who is extremely comfortable getting physical down the field, which is legal in college. It is not in the NFL and he needs to learn to use that physical play up inside of five yards and get a great jam.
His length allows him to make plays and he is able to interceptions when he has a chance at them. Fuller is a player who can break up passes but needs to create more opportunities to get more opportunities for turnovers. Still, he is able to make plays in coverage and take plays away from the opponent.
Blitzing off the Edge
Fuller is someone who can come off of the edge and blitz. They have used him to run blitz as well as to come after the quarterback. He does accelerate well and is able to close distance rather quickly in addition to the fact he is strong and can create momentum quickly. Plus with his long arms, if he cannot land a blitz, he can get his arms up in the air and potentially knock down a pass. In the game against Georgia Tech, they actually used Fuller to blitz in the B and C gaps, trying to time the snap and create havoc before the Yellow Jackets could get into their run option.
As is typical with the Hokies, Fuller has been trained to play Beamer ball. Fuller is able to attack off of the edge, bend and use his length with good technique to get in and try to block both kicks and punts. He can also help protect down the sideline and can be an asset when it comes to blocking a return. It would not be a surprise to see him on coverage units but he is at his best trying to block kicks.
Fuller can potentially fit into a few different schemes. His best might be in a combination of man and zone scheme that allows him to play off and break on the football to try to make plays.
Fuller could potentially be developed into a nice press corner for a team that likes to use long corners with long arms that can get a jam. While he does not have a ton of experience jamming at the line of scrimmage, he certainly does have the tools to potentially play that scheme. He might be more suited to play in a Cover-2 scheme than he would be in a press-bail type scheme but he could develop to play in either one.
Fuller’s game is similar to that of Jason McCourty of the Tennessee Titans. McCourty is a player with extremely similar dimensions and the same type of skill set. He is able to make plays on the football, has shown the ability to cause turnovers and played his college football at Rutgers which has put the same kind of emphasis on special teams that Virginia Tech has, so he is able to help in that facet of the game as well.
Fuller has a lot of tools that could help him be successful. He is naturally long, accelerates well, has good instincts and vision for the game and is able to get in and break up plays. Fuller is also able to contribute in run defense, although he needs to eliminate some bad habits that can get him in trouble. There are a number of schemes that could like what Fuller has to offer which could make him an attractive prospect and his overall skill set will likely be selected in the top 75 picks.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com