Players like DeSean Jackson and Ted Ginn have found success in their careers when their respective coaches have deployed them in a way that suits their physical gifts. Notre Dame's Will Fuller is cut from the same cloth, and he's looking for a job in this week's NFL Draft. Could the New York Giants find him to be the answer for their No. 2 receiver vacancy?
- One of the few players who will scorch rather than just burn the top of a defense. He's there, and then he's gone. Really impressive top-end speed.
- Stop-start is sudden, yet smooth.
- Mastery of footwork for the routes he knows bodes well for expanding the route tree over time.
- His speed is such an advantage that he will draw safeties his direction and force corners to play softer than they'd like.
- Drops. There are A LOT of them. Inexcusable. PFF credits him with 10 drops and 62 receptions. I'm not happy with that ratio whatsoever.
- He's a deep-threat guy only right now. Likely won't offer much on short or intermediate routes as a rookie. Can't play the slot. Won't second guess defenders to think he's ever going over the middle.
- For an outside-only type player, he's not going to be a possession receiver for anyone.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 51st
Mocking The Draft - 39th
CBS - 35th
Draft Tek - 28th
Does He Fit With the Giants?
I can see the thought process behind adding someone like Fuller to this offense. I don't remember the last time the Giants had a pure deep-threat. Even when Kevin Gilbride was calling the plays, I don't think there was any guys who just ran a 9-route over and over. Maybe it's time to change that.
I don't think he's worth taking in the second round, just based on how one-dimensional he is as a receiver right now, but if you can nab him at 71st, then go right ahead. Fuller's speed is phenomenal. I'm not trying to be hyperbolic with my comparisons here, but he might be the fastest receiver in the NFL next year. The defenses he played against in college either had safety help, or they got torched. He's just faster than everyone.
In the Giants' current offense, he could work as a No.2 opposite Odell Beckham Jr., however, would he be the second best receiver on the depth chart? Probably not, and that's where it makes things difficult. We can't expect anything from Victor Cruz right now, so take him out of the equation for drafting a potential starter. It all comes to down to Dwayne Harris, and this is where I struggle with adding Fuller to the team. Harris and Fuller are apples and oranges, but I would contend that Harris is a better overall player and would deserve more playing time until Fuller can round out his game. So, Harris would remain a starter, and play outside except on three-receiver sets when you bump him inside and put Fuller there? I don't really like that idea, and based on the likelihood of needing a high Day 2 draft pick to obtain Fuller, it's too rich for my blood.
Fuller would be a good player for this team, but he's extremely limited. He could have 10 touchdowns as a rookie, but he might also have 10 drops. With the game on the line, are you going to roll with a 50/50 shot? Beckham is good because he can bail Manning out of trouble. Fuller will be the opposite. He's going to need a lot of help from the quarterback to get the ball in the right place. It's less than ideal, but what third round potential starter isn't?
I think a lot of the negative thought surrounding Fuller comes from the draft process itself. In the early stages, many considered him the top receiver on the board. Over time, other names emerged, some small school guys were discovered, and Fuller was exposed as somewhat of a one-trick pony. It's difficult to look at him and think "If I take him, then maybe I'm passing on a Sterling Shepard, or a Rashard Higgins", but that doesn't make him in any way untalented. Context is difficult, but it's necessary. If the price is right, and if you can use him in a way that highlights his assets rather than faults, you'll be happy. Otherwise, it'll be an unhappy marriage for all involved.