Over the next week, we’re featuring each of the Redskins’ 2016 draft picks and spotlighting three things you need to know about them. Up today…
Name: Kendall Fuller
Drafted: 3rd round (84th overall)
School: Virginia Tech
1—‘Microfracture surgery’ are two of the scariest words in pro sports. The Redskins, though, decided Fuller was worth the risk because, well, players who possess his level of talent aren’t typically available in the third round. And, according to General Manager Scot McCloughan, because team doctors, including Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon who performed the microfracture procedure, are confident the former Hokie (and Good Counsel Falcon) will make a full recovery. “I trust my doctors,” McCloughan said this week. “We passed him on the physical. He’s going to be okay. Now, 100 percent for sure? Who knows? But I felt good enough to know the kind of player he is, the kind of person he is, where he comes from family-wise, he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure he’s a football player for us. When you get to the third round, to get a corner that I think can be a starting corner, is [an] excellent [value].” Coach Jay Gruden said Fuller won’t participate in next week’s rookie minicamp and conceded that Fuller might be held out until training camp in late July. Fuller’s health, obviously, will be one of the bigger storylines to monitor this summer.
2—The Redskins envision Fuller (5 foot 11, 187-pounds) filling the nickel corner role in 2016—though nothing is set in stone just yet. “Well, I think he’s big enough to play corner, but we also think he’s got a skill-set to play nickel, which is very important,” Gruden told ESPN 980 this week. “Ideally, we’d like to keep him at nickel and keep [Bashaud] Breeland outside. If he can play outside, we can move Breeland inside to nickel.” Fuller played inside and outside at Virginia Tech. Either way, though, a trio of Josh Norman, Breeland and (a healthy) Fuller should provide a big time boost for a defense that yielded a whopping 65 passing touchdowns over the past two seasons.
3— Like second round pick Su’a Cravens, Fuller comes from a football family. In fact, the Baltimore native will be the fourth Fuller brother to play in the NFL, joining Vincent, Corey and Kyle. Vincent and Corey sat in the front row at Kendall’s introductory news conference at FedEx Field last Saturday. Vincent played 76 games as a reserve safety spread over seven seasons for the Titans and Lions. Corey is a fourth-year wide receiver for the Lions, while Kyle, a corner, was the Bears' 2014 first round selection and has started 30 of 32 games the past two seasons for Chicago. The Redskins, by the way, play the Lions in Week 7 and the Bears in Week 16. “It definitely helped me,” Kendall said of being the youngest. “My brother, Corey, he probably beat me up the most. But just being able to watch them, they definitely said something when they needed to, shared some knowledge and influence when they needed to. They knew I was watching, so they knew that they had to carry themselves right because they didn’t want me to follow their footsteps if they were doing the wrong thing. It was definitely fun growing up in that household.”