Hokies Football: Kendall Fuller Will Leave Early for the 2016 NFL Draft

Entering the season, expectation were very high for Kendall Fuller with most having him as a Preseason All-American cornerback along with Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves. However, that would not be the case for Fuller after he played three games with a torn meniscus before having to be shut down for the season with Virginia Tech deciding to use a medical redshirt on him in case he decided to return.

Fuller’s draft stock did take somewhat of a hit due to the injury, but not too big of a hit with most knowing how good of a player Fuller has been when healthy.

Kendall Fuller made the decision to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft after only playing three games in his junior season at Virginia Tech. Fuller had 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, and 1 forced fumble in his three games this season.

Fuller started his Virginia Tech career well with 58 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, and 11 pass breakups on his way to earning Freshman All-American and All-ACC Second Teams honors along with being the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year.

As a sophomore, Fuller was even better despite having a broken wrist with 54 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 15 pass breakups. After the 2014 season, Fuller received All-ACC First Team, and Second and Third Team All-American honors.

Fuller was one of the top three defensive backs entering the season and likely would have been a First Team All-American this season if it wasn’t for his torn meniscus. However, Fuller will train in Pensacola, Florida as he continues to recover from his torn meniscus before the NFL Combine.

Due to his injury, Kendall Fuller has fallen from the top tier of defensive backs with Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves and Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey to a talented second tier that could also include Tennessee’s Cameron Sutton and LSU’s Tre’Davious White.

In Todd McShay’s first mock draft, McShay had Fuller going 21st overall to the Indianapolis Colts in what would make him the fourth defensive back off the board following Ramsey, Hargreaves, and White. Fuller has continued to be ranked in the top 20 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board, and will definitely have opportunities to prove that he is healthy and improve his draft stock.

Fuller projects to be an early-impact cornerback that can start from day one as a solid man coverage cornerback that can also be used in the slot to also help with defending the run. Fuller definitely has the potential to be a very good number 1 cornerback with good athleticism while his very good man coverage skills make him a low risk pick in the middle of the first round.

Kendall Fuller has had a tremendous career at Virginia Tech, and will definitely go down as one of the top cornerbacks to play at Virginia Tech. However, Fuller’s torn meniscus this season will leave some fans wondering how good of a career could Fuller have had if he only would have been healthy this season.

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