Last year the Redskins got some quality defensive snaps from Kyshoen Jarrett, a rookie defensive back out of Virginia Tech. He was a valued member of the defense but it appears that his career has been derailed by a severe neck injury.
They may have found another Hokie who can fill at least some of the role that Jarrett filled last year. Third-round pick Kendall Fuller started off slowly as he nursed an injured knee back to health. He was inactive the first three games and then he came in at nickel cornerback in Week 4 and it looks like it will be hard for anyone to push him out of the lineup. Last week, in fact, Jay Gruden said as much.
“I think he’s going to be a nickel here for a long time,” said Gruden. “Yes, we love the way he plays. I love his work ethic.”
This week, Joe Barry was even more expansive in his praise of the rookie and of the program that produced both Jarrett and Fuller.
“You know, I’m going to give Virginia Tech a little plug right here because I said the same thing about Kyshoen Jarrett last year,” said the Redskins defensive coordinator. “He was just very mature, very football savvy, and Kendall is absolutely in the same mold. He is a rookie. He’s obviously young, that’s obvious. But he’s very mature for his age, football mature I’m talking about.”
What does he mean by “football mature”?
“Very detailed, asks great questions,” said Barry. “You know, the biggest thing, playing any position but especially playing DB and specifically the nickel corner, you’ve got have a plan every week on how you attack the guy that you play based on what type of player that is, and usually young guys don’t get that. Usually young guys say, ‘Oh, I get the call, I’ve got to play the call.’ You know, ‘I’ve got to play my leverage, I’ve got to do my job.’ But you learn as you’re in this league, you’ve got to approach every single wide receiver different. And it’s cool that Kendall already understands that.”
Fuller had some good background coming into the NFL. He went to Virginia Tech, know and “DB University” for producing a number of NFL corners and safeties including Fuller’s three older brothers. He has been exposed to NFL-level defensive back savvy since his older brother Vincent was drafted by the Titans in 2005.
Vincent played until 2011. Kendall would be seeing his brother Corey playing for the Lions on Sunday but Corey is on the PUP list with foot injury. Kyle Fuller of the Bears also is on the shelf, sent to IR after getting a knee scoped. So for the time being, Kendall is the only active Fuller in the league. But he carries the benefit of growing up in an NFL family.
“He already really gets it and that’s why I talk about his awareness, his savviness, his instincts, whatever you want to call it,” said Barry. “He has that and it’s really neat.”