New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL Draft Profile: Kendall Fuller

clok
Oct 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Chad Voytik (16) rushes the ball against Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Kendall Fuller (11) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Chad Voytik (16) rushes the ball against Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Kendall Fuller (11) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

While most people don’t see cornerback as a big need for the New Orleans Saints, drafting one might not be totally out of the picture. After a dreadful season defending the pass and Keenan Lewis’ health being a big question mark, Kendall Fuller might be a guy who could help bring the defense back to the dominant form we saw in 2013.

We continue our New Orleans Saints draft series with cornerback Kendall Fuller out of Virginia Tech. He’s a raw prospect who could help establish the secondary in the Big Easy.

Measurables:
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 187 LBS
Arm length: 31 1/2 inches
Hands: 10 inches

Scouting Combine Results:
Bench press (225 LBS): 15 reps
Fuller did not participate in the combine outside of the bench press, or at the pro day.

Analysis
Part of a big NFL family, Kendall Fuller is a ball-hawking cornerback with a knack for making big plays. He has the ability to stay with his receiver and does a good job of locating the ball when it’s thrown his way. We could see that in his stats from 2013 and 2014, where he came up with 24 passes defended and eight interceptions.

His run support is also outstanding. He plays with a rare aggressiveness for his position and that shows on tape where his tackling technique and willingness both stand out. His toughness also led to him playing though several injuries at the collegiate level, refusing to let them take him out of games.

His aggressiveness sometimes results in holding and pass interference penalties, and he needs to learn to balance his play at the next level. Even though Fuller does a great job of staying on his man, his top-end speed is a concern. He struggles to follow receivers downfield, and NFL receivers will make it hard on him to play press man-to-man coverage.

A man can only take so much pain, and Fuller had to realize that in 2015 after suffering a torn meniscus. He played the first 3 games but opted to undergo a season-ending surgery to get ready for the 2016 season. Teams have to be aware of his durability, as he carries a long injury history.

Watch below to see Fuller’s excellent ball skills

More from Saints Draft

How he could fit in with the New Orleans Saints:
After giving up a league-leading 45 passing touchdowns in 2015, the New Orleans Saints’ secondary seems like an obvious position group to upgrade, especially with Keenan Lewis’ health being a big question mark and the position being filled with unproven players.

With the right scheme, Kendall Fuller could thrive in the slot where he could use his outstanding run support, physicality, and great coverage on short and intermediate routes. That would limit his flaws and also make him able to use his ball-hawking skills.

The New Orleans Saints would have to feel confident that his durability wouldn’t become a big problem, as he might only be available in the second or maybe third round. If Fuller is healthy, he would provide an immediate improvement to the secondary.

facebooktwitterreddit