Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller escapes brothers’ shadows

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The Fullers turn everything into a competition — video games, H-O-R-S-E, foot races, whatever. Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller will hold bragging rights on his two older brothers when he becomes the highest-drafted player in his family.

(Kyle’s younger brother, Kendall, a sophomore-to-be at Virginia Tech, still has a chance to top him.)

“I’m very competitive, especially with my brothers,” Kyle Fuller said. “That’s helped me to where I am now. We always want to be better than the next guy, each other, no matter how fast we are, the plays we make. We’ve had a couple races. I won one. Corey won one. Whenever we’re home, we’ll get it.”

Vincent Fuller II, also a defensive back at Virginia Tech, was a fourth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2005. Although he started only five games in his career, he played in 76 games in seven NFL seasons.

Corey Fuller, a receiver at Virginia Tech, was a sixth-round selection of the Detroit Lions last season. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad.

Kyle Fuller projects as a first-round choice.

“The Fuller kid I really like,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said of Kyle. “I have him as my third-ranked corner. I think he’s a first-round talent. He’s long. He tackles. He has ball skills.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Fuller had hoped to challenge Corey’s 4.32-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he ran 4.49. It was fast enough, though not the fastest in his family.

Kyle Fuller made the all-ACC team in 2013 despite playing only nine games because of a sports hernia that required surgery in February. He made 24 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups last season.

He no longer is in his brothers’ shadows, though he credits them for getting him where he is.

“It definitely makes you want to get to that level,” Kyle Fuller said. “It definitely keeps you humble to continue to work hard to get there. I believe it just shows all the hard work all of my brothers have had to get to this point, and we’re just thankful and blessed for that.”

Overview

This class doesn’t have an elite player such as Patrick Peterson, but it offers at least four first-rounders. Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller and TCU’s Jason Verrett all are expected to be first-round choices. There is quality depth in rounds two, three and four. After receiver, this position ranks second in terms of depth.

Cowboys’ needs

The Cowboys thought they shored up their cornerback position before the 2012 season when they signed then-free-agent Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal, and traded up in the draft to select Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick. But Claiborne lost his starting job to nickel back Orlando Scandrick last season, and Carr struggled, allowing 966 yards. Claiborne has missed seven games in his two seasons because of injuries, and he has failed to show play-making ability with only two interceptions and one forced fumble in 25 games. Scandrick was the team’s best corner last season, allowing 50 catches for 559 yards and four touchdowns. The Cowboys drafted B.W. Webb in the fourth round last year, but he had a forgettable rookie season.

Top five

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, 5-11, 199, 4.52. He won the Jim Thorpe Award with 62 tackles, 10 pass breakups, four interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, 6-0, 202, 4.37. The Huntsville product had 42 tackles, seven pass breakups and seven interceptions in 10 starts last season.

Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 190, 4.49. He had 24 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups last season in nine games.

Jason Verrett, TCU, 5-9, 189, 4.38. He was co-Big 12 defensive player of the year with 39 tackles, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 11 starts.

Marcus Roberson, Florida, 6-0, 191, 4.61. An injury-plagued 2013 season limited him to seven games, with four starts, and 11 tackles and three pass breakups.

Sleeper

Pierre Desir, Lindenwood, 6-1, 198, 4.59: He had 25 career interceptions at Washburn University and Lindenwood.

Top Texas ties

Phillip Gaines, Rice, 6-0, 193, 4.38: A possible second-round pick, he made 45 career starts and set the school record for passes defensed with 42.

Source: Heights, weights and 40 times were compiled from CBS Sportsline.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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