I'll be honest, I've spent most of my time focusing on WR and CB in this year's draft. I think those are two big needs going forward, if not in 2014, certainly in 2015 and beyond. They're also two positions where the 49ers haven't drafted particularly well, so forgive me for obsessing over them a bit.
With that in mind, today's profile is on CB Kyle Fuller, formerly of Virginia Tech. The first things to like about Fuller are his measurables: 6'0 tall, 32 7/8" arms, ran an official 4.49 in the 40 with a 10'8" broad jump. Similar to Justin Gilbert, the kid is athletic, if a bit unrefined at times.
Also like Gilbert, Fuller relied on his athleticism, leading to some holes in his game that weren't often-enough exposed, but nonetheless will need cleaning up at the next level. Good thing the 49ers have Ed Donatell.
The aforementioned size and athleticism serve him well on the field where he uses his talents to drive on the football and make a play, even if initially behind by a step. When Fuller reads the play and knows the ball is coming, he's adept at tracking and making a play on it.
He's played the boundary as well as the slot and, perhaps surprisingly, somewhat of a LB role. Watch the Georgia Tech game, where VT used Fuller inside, taking on blocks, shooting gaps and disrupting their triple-option attack. This makes him an ideal slot candidate at the NFL level, too, as tackling and playing with a LB mentality in the run game is crucial.
He's very aggressive to the ball carrier and not afraid to his someone, even on special teams (where he played a fair amount). He generally is a good hitter and an average tackler.
Like Gilbert, his footwork is a mess at times. He often sits and waits for the receiver to get going before moving his own body, often giving up precious cushion and starting out a step or two behind. This bit him a few times when he wasn't able to outrun the throw deep down the sidelines. I think he has the speed to stay with guys but he must get consistent with his technique in order to be on even ground when the play starts.
He could use a little honing of his tackling technique, too. He usually gets the job done, but often is more of an arm-tackler, shoestring type guy. He pops, but doesn't always keep his feet and wrap-and-drive through the player.
Sometimes he thinks he knows the play and misreads it, making him susceptible to double-moves when he's wrong. Doesn't locate the ball as well when he's running with his back to the line of scrimmage, especially if making up ground down the sideline.
I see Fuller as a great pick at 30 if he falls to that point, otherwise an even better value in the early second round if the 49ers were to take a gamble that he lasts that long, though I wouldn't be surprised if he goes in the top-20, either.
I think he'd come in and challenge for the slot corner role in either Nickel or Dime packages and be able to help out on special teams (though I wouldn't expect them to ask him to play every snap on STs with the high investment he'll require). I'd be surprised if he's not able to hold down a starting job on the outside by the 2015 season.