Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

SOTT Rundown: Notre Dame Wide Receiver Will Fuller Lands With the Houston Texans

A complete breakdown of Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller.

Will Fuller

The Basics:

  • Position – Wide Receiver
  • School – Notre Dame
  • Height – 6’0”
  • Weight – 186 pounds

Combine Results:

  • 40-yard Dash – 4.32 seconds (First at the combine)
  • Vertical Jump – 33.5 inches
  • Broad Jump – 126 inches
  • 20 Yard Shuttle – 4.27 seconds
  • 60 Yard Shuttle – 11.44 seconds

2015 Notable Awards and Honors:

  • ESPN.com Midseason First-Team All-American
  • USA Today Midseason First-Team All-American
  • SI.com Midseason Second-Team All-American
  • Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist
  • Biletnikoff Award Watch List
  • Walter Camp Award Watch List

The Stats: (From Sports Reference)

2014 – 76 receptions, 1,094 yards, 15 touchdowns
2015 – 62 receptions, 1,258 yards, 14 touchdowns

Scouts Take:

Dane Brugler from CBS Sports:

STRENGTHS: Galloping acceleration to reach his top speed quickly. Takes the top off a defense vertically, stacking receivers and using multiple gears to pull away from defenders (averaged 20.3 yards per catch in 2015).

Finds the ball well in flight with above average tracking skills. Times his jumps to highpoint and rarely misjudges downfield throws. Works hard for body position to force defenders to go through him at the catch point. Achieves proper depth in his routes with the start/stop ability, change of direction skills and hesitation to create separation at the stem.

Strong plant-and-go quickness in his breaks. Very good understanding of field leverage, pressing receivers and generating space. Hits the jets quickly to erase pursuit angles on inside screens.

Won't break tackles, but drives his legs and lowers his pads to finish. Scrappy, willing blocker. Experienced lining up outside and in the slot. Driven individual and the hard work has paid off. Highly productive the past two seasons, leaving Notre Dame No. 2 on the school's all-time receiving touchdown list (30).

WEAKNESSES:

Lean-muscled and lacks an ideal body type. Below average functional strength and can be knocked off his route. Smaller hands and prone to body catches with too many drops on his college film - equal opportunity dropper, losing focus on various types of passes. Unreliable in contested situations.

Shows some indecision as a ballcarrier and needs to get north-south quicker. Lacks the run power to pick up yards after initial contact. Bad habit of extending his arms downfield and pushing off. Willing blocker, but struggles to sustain and limited in this area. Doesn't offers experience as a return man.

IN OUR VIEW:

A dynamic deep threat, Fuller has the uncanny ability to create separation late in his route, using an extra gear when the ball is in the air, a burst that most cornerbacks can't match. He is outstanding at tracking the deep ball and going and getting it, but the lapses in concentration and dropped passes are frustrating.

Although NFL teams will need to look past his average build and streaky ball-skills, Fuller is a big-time playmaker who has the speed to stretch the field and quickness to generate separation at the top of his routes, making him a borderline first-round pick.


Lance Zierlein from NFL.com:

STRENGTHS:

Big time, vertical daddy. Had just over 27 percent of his catches go for 25-plus yards this year. Uses short, controlled strides into his routes for maximum balance and suddenness underneath. Will change routes speed to rock corners to sleep before climbing past them. Works to establish early leverage points against man coverage. Has elite acceleration to create easy separation vertically. Cornerbacks fear his speed giving him ample cushion. Able to drive defenders into early turn and bail when charging into his route. Shake a go release can whip press coverage. Can challenge and defeat press with nine routes and posts. Can make sharp in­-breaking cuts. Above average ball tracking skills and has good feel for the sideline at all times. Talented with the ball in his hands and can change direction without gearing down.

WEAKNESSES:

Undersized outside receiver with skinny legs who is unlikely to make a living in the middle of the field. Hands can be wretched at times (see Boston College game). Body catcher with focus issues and lack of hand strength. Logged nine drops in each of the last two seasons. Feast or famine target lacking frame and hands to be a volume receiver. Needs to improve route savvy for underneath and intermediate routes. Won't offer much at all as run blocker.

BOTTOM LINE:

Fuller doesn't check all the boxes with his slight frame, below average hands and limitations with his game-­by­-game production, but he possesses the coveted ability to hit the big play and score touchdowns. My grade might be higher than some, but Fuller has the type of functional speed that can win deep and free teammates up in the intermediate passing game. Look for Fuller to come in and contribute early on as a third receiver.

Pro Football Focus:

Stats to know:

  • Ranked third in the nation with 708 yards on deep passes and that made up 56 percent of his total yardage. Had fifth-highest catch rate on deep passes (at least 20 targets) at 58.6 percent.

What he does best:

  • Fuller is fast, and it shows on the field. His second gear is special as CBs are often “in phase” before Fuller breaks away
  • Gets in and out of his breaks well for such a speed receiver. Can throttle down better than most
  •  Will do his best work on the vertical route tree (go route, curl, comeback) while adding after-the-catch explosiveness on screens

Biggest concern:

  •  Hands are an issue. Dropped 10 of 72 catchable passes in 2015 for a 13.9 percent drop rate that ranked 88th of 96 qualifiers at wide receiver. 2014 wasn’t much better: 12.64 percent drop rate ranked 82nd.
  •  May be limited to the vertical route tree, hasn’t done much work catching the ball over the middle in traffic
  •  While the deep speed allows him to get behind the defense, he’s not great at hauling in off-target throws or making contested catches.

Bottom line:

Fuller brings a lot to the table with his speed, particularly the special second level he can achieve. While he may not be a receiver that will haul in 80-plus catches in a high volume attack, his speed and ability to work the vertical route tree make him effective as a deep threat with a quarterback capable of getting the ball down the field.

Tweet embed from PFF

My Take:

Picking Will Fuller with the 22nd pick is completely defensible and addresses an obvious need, but I’m not in love with the decision.

Fuller checks off a lot of the right boxes and put up big stats while at Notre Dame, but his weaknesses concern me more than his strengths excite me.

He ran the fastest 40-time at the NFL Combine which backed up what we all saw on TV and tape with his ability to get open deep down the field, but will that one trick be good enough to make him a success in the NFL and worthy of the 22nd draft spot when we look back in 10 years?

While he is very explosive and will probably create several highlight reel plays along with the strong-arm of Brock Osweiler, red flags over his hands, ability to run more than three routes, his body frame, and ability to win with contested passes in the air are concerning.

The route running outside of the deep concepts will come with time and coaching, but the ability to win jump-balls or even consistently make the easy catches always seems to be something a player either excels at or doesn’t. There are always exceptions to every rule, but I don’t recall many receivers with major issues catching the ball radically improving in that area over their career; see Ted Ginn, the player he’s compared to most often.

In many ways Fuller reminds me of last year’s third round pick Jaelen Strong. Great physical tools, looks the part, performed well at the combine, has one great skill, but overall is very raw and will need at least a year, probably two, to develop. That’s fine in the third round, but feels like a reach at 22.

Overall I thought Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard were better options at wide receiver, while defensive linemen Jarran Reed and Vernon Butler also fit a major need and would have been better picks at No. 22.

Scout Videos from DraftBreakdown.com:

 


State of the Texans Top Stories

\n

My Take:

\n

\n

Picking Will Fuller with the 22nd pick is completely defensible and addresses an obvious need, but I’m not in love with the decision.

\n

Fuller checks off a lot of the right boxes and put up big stats while at Notre Dame, but his weaknesses concern me more than his strengths excite me.

\n

He ran the fastest 40-time at the NFL Combine which backed up what we all saw on TV and tape with his ability to get open deep down the field, but will that one trick be good enough to make him a success in the NFL and worthy of the 22nd draft spot when we look back in 10 years?

\n

While he is very explosive and will probably create several highlight reel plays along with the strong-arm of Brock Osweiler, red flags over his hands, ability to run more than three routes, his body frame, and ability to win with contested passes in the air are concerning.

\n

The route running outside of the deep concepts will come with time and coaching, but the ability to win jump-balls or even consistently make the easy catches always seems to be something a player either excels at or doesn’t. There are always exceptions to every rule, but I don’t recall many receivers with major issues catching the ball radically improving in that area over their career; see Ted Ginn, the player he’s compared to most often.

\n

\n

In many ways Fuller reminds me of last year’s third round pick Jaelen Strong. Great physical tools, looks the part, performed well at the combine, has one great skill, but overall is very raw and will need at least a year, probably two, to develop. That’s fine in the third round, but feels like a reach at 22.

\n

\n

Overall I thought Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard were better options at wide receiver, while defensive linemen Jarran Reed and Vernon Butler also fit a major need and would have been better picks at No. 22.

\n

\n

Scout Videos from DraftBreakdown.com:

\n

\n

 

","mobileBody":"

Will Fuller

The Basics:

Combine Results:

2015 Notable Awards and Honors:

The Stats: (From Sports Reference)

2014 – 76 receptions, 1,094 yards, 15 touchdowns
2015 – 62 receptions, 1,258 yards, 14 touchdowns

Scouts Take:

Dane Brugler from CBS Sports:

STRENGTHS: Galloping acceleration to reach his top speed quickly. Takes the top off a defense vertically, stacking receivers and using multiple gears to pull away from defenders (averaged 20.3 yards per catch in 2015).

Finds the ball well in flight with above average tracking skills. Times his jumps to highpoint and rarely misjudges downfield throws. Works hard for body position to force defenders to go through him at the catch point. Achieves proper depth in his routes with the start/stop ability, change of direction skills and hesitation to create separation at the stem.

Strong plant-and-go quickness in his breaks. Very good understanding of field leverage, pressing receivers and generating space. Hits the jets quickly to erase pursuit angles on inside screens.

Won't break tackles, but drives his legs and lowers his pads to finish. Scrappy, willing blocker. Experienced lining up outside and in the slot. Driven individual and the hard work has paid off. Highly productive the past two seasons, leaving Notre Dame No. 2 on the school's all-time receiving touchdown list (30).

WEAKNESSES:

Lean-muscled and lacks an ideal body type. Below average functional strength and can be knocked off his route. Smaller hands and prone to body catches with too many drops on his college film - equal opportunity dropper, losing focus on various types of passes. Unreliable in contested situations.

Shows some indecision as a ballcarrier and needs to get north-south quicker. Lacks the run power to pick up yards after initial contact. Bad habit of extending his arms downfield and pushing off. Willing blocker, but struggles to sustain and limited in this area. Doesn't offers experience as a return man.

IN OUR VIEW:

A dynamic deep threat, Fuller has the uncanny ability to create separation late in his route, using an extra gear when the ball is in the air, a burst that most cornerbacks can't match. He is outstanding at tracking the deep ball and going and getting it, but the lapses in concentration and dropped passes are frustrating.

Although NFL teams will need to look past his average build and streaky ball-skills, Fuller is a big-time playmaker who has the speed to stretch the field and quickness to generate separation at the top of his routes, making him a borderline first-round pick.


Lance Zierlein from NFL.com:

STRENGTHS:

Big time, vertical daddy. Had just over 27 percent of his catches go for 25-plus yards this year. Uses short, controlled strides into his routes for maximum balance and suddenness underneath. Will change routes speed to rock corners to sleep before climbing past them. Works to establish early leverage points against man coverage. Has elite acceleration to create easy separation vertically. Cornerbacks fear his speed giving him ample cushion. Able to drive defenders into early turn and bail when charging into his route. Shake a go release can whip press coverage. Can challenge and defeat press with nine routes and posts. Can make sharp in­-breaking cuts. Above average ball tracking skills and has good feel for the sideline at all times. Talented with the ball in his hands and can change direction without gearing down.

WEAKNESSES:

Undersized outside receiver with skinny legs who is unlikely to make a living in the middle of the field. Hands can be wretched at times (see Boston College game). Body catcher with focus issues and lack of hand strength. Logged nine drops in each of the last two seasons. Feast or famine target lacking frame and hands to be a volume receiver. Needs to improve route savvy for underneath and intermediate routes. Won't offer much at all as run blocker.

BOTTOM LINE:

Fuller doesn't check all the boxes with his slight frame, below average hands and limitations with his game-­by­-game production, but he possesses the coveted ability to hit the big play and score touchdowns. My grade might be higher than some, but Fuller has the type of functional speed that can win deep and free teammates up in the intermediate passing game. Look for Fuller to come in and contribute early on as a third receiver.

Pro Football Focus:

Stats to know:

What he does best:

Biggest concern:

Bottom line:

Fuller brings a lot to the table with his speed, particularly the special second level he can achieve. While he may not be a receiver that will haul in 80-plus catches in a high volume attack, his speed and ability to work the vertical route tree make him effective as a deep threat with a quarterback capable of getting the ball down the field.

Tweet embed from PFF

Fuller had 10 drops in 2015, but also posted 14 TDs and had nine games with a reception of at least 30 yards.

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 29, 2016

My Take:

Picking Will Fuller with the 22nd pick is completely defensible and addresses an obvious need, but I’m not in love with the decision.

Fuller checks off a lot of the right boxes and put up big stats while at Notre Dame, but his weaknesses concern me more than his strengths excite me.

He ran the fastest 40-time at the NFL Combine which backed up what we all saw on TV and tape with his ability to get open deep down the field, but will that one trick be good enough to make him a success in the NFL and worthy of the 22nd draft spot when we look back in 10 years?

While he is very explosive and will probably create several highlight reel plays along with the strong-arm of Brock Osweiler, red flags over his hands, ability to run more than three routes, his body frame, and ability to win with contested passes in the air are concerning.

The route running outside of the deep concepts will come with time and coaching, but the ability to win jump-balls or even consistently make the easy catches always seems to be something a player either excels at or doesn’t. There are always exceptions to every rule, but I don’t recall many receivers with major issues catching the ball radically improving in that area over their career; see Ted Ginn, the player he’s compared to most often.

In many ways Fuller reminds me of last year’s third round pick Jaelen Strong. Great physical tools, looks the part, performed well at the combine, has one great skill, but overall is very raw and will need at least a year, probably two, to develop. That’s fine in the third round, but feels like a reach at 22.

Overall I thought Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard were better options at wide receiver, while defensive linemen Jarran Reed and Vernon Butler also fit a major need and would have been better picks at No. 22.

Scout Videos from DraftBreakdown.com:

[YOUTUBE:RzV2cMGlXqU] [YOUTUBE:mMndBPEP7Go] [YOUTUBE:BM2B_YBnmJo] [YOUTUBE:UTolrsgxCjM]

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