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2016 NFL Draft Profile: Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller

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Will Fuller be available with the 24th pick? (See what I did there?)

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The common consensus among most NFL fans is that the Cincinnati Bengals need to select a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. I completely disagree with this notion, but I wouldn't be mad at the Bengals for selecting a wideout in the first round. Ultimately, I trust the Bengals management more than I trust my own analysis, because Cincinnati has a proven track record. If the Bengals chose to go the wide receiver route in the draft, Will Fuller could be a guy to keep an eye on. Fellow Fighting Irishman, Tyler Eifert has given him a nod of approval.

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 186 lbs

Arm length: 30 3/4

Hands: 8 1/4

College: Notre Dame

Class: Junior

40 dash: 4.32

Bench press: 10 reps

Vert jump: 33.5"

Broad jump: 126.0"

3 cone: 6.93

20 yard shuffle: 4.27

NFL Comparisons

Fuller compared to other wide receivers, per Mock Draftable

The Bengals took Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame in the first round of the 2013 Draft, so it's possible they take another former member of the Fighting Irish in 2016. However, it's worth pointing out that the Bengals have met with Laquon Treadwell, Corey Coleman and Josh Doctson, but they haven't met with Fuller, as far as we know.

College Stats

G Rec Yards Avg TD
2013 6 6 160 26.7 1
2014 13 76 1,094 14.4 15
2015 13 62 1,258 20.3 14
Total 32 144 2,512 17.4 30

Scouting Report Consensus - What to like

  • Elite speed and explosiveness make him a solid deep threat
  • Great first-step quickness, second-gear speed
  • Great balance and vision, quick feet, durable
  • Adjusts well to the ball, fast in and out of breaks
  • Quick release, potential to be a great route-runner

Scouting Report Consensus - What not to like

  • Unreliable hands
  • Undersized, with skinny legs
  • Caught too many passes with his body
  • Won't be a great run-blocker
  • Room for improvement in route-running, running with the ball

Projected Round:

Round 1

Conclusion:

Comparisons to Ted Ginn Jr. have turned off a surprising amount of fans from a player who is far better than people think. Despite unreliable hands, Fuller's speed will force opposing NFL defenders to give him tons of space at the line of scrimmage. If a team were to build up Fuller's frame and design a playbook that complements his strong suits, similar to what the Steelers have done with Antonio Brown, Fuller would be a tremendous weapon. I can definitely envision a team with a solid number one wideout taking Fuller as a complement and focusing on getting him the ball through short and intermediate passes, setting up an eventual deep ball. Fuller's lack of yards after catch prowess landed him comparisons to Ted Ginn Jr., but if he can improve his abilities with the football, he could blossom into one of the league's most dangerous receivers. Fuller is a high ceiling, low floor prospect, and his NFL production will largely be determined by the team he lands with and his ability to stay healthy.

If Fuller were to fall to the Bengals with the 24th pick, I'd personally think twice before selecting him. But I have an admitted bias against drafting a receiver in the first round. However, with Fuller's sky-high ceiling in mind, I wouldn't be upset if the Bengals were to call his name. With the right coaching, Fuller could easily become a dangerous player. Contrary to what many people believe, Will Fuller's name, just like any prospect's name, doesn't scream "bust." It only screams "bust" if Fuller ends up playing for a team that doesn't know how to maximize his abilities in its offensive scheme. The Bengals are creative and knowledgeable enough that I'd have faith they could help Fuller live up to his potential. But if they pass on him in Round 1, I wouldn't be upset.