When the Washington Redskins drafted cornerback Kendall Fuller in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, they felt they got a steal. The fact Fuller slid to the third round was primarily because of a torn meniscus he suffered his last season at Virginia Tech.
His rookie struggles were glaring. But, lost was the fact he was indeed competing through his first season after having his knee repaired. The Redskins felt confident in his abilities, much like they did on draft night. In 2017, his second-year pro, Fuller was cemented as the Redskins’ slot corner. That’s where he blossomed. Fully healthy, Fuller displayed his superb cover skills.
While the Redskins defense had an up and down season, Fuller was the most consistent defender on the team. Week in and week out, Fuller manned and locked down slot, drawing an impressive 90.0 overall rating from analytical website, Pro Football Focus. That was the top grade for any slot defender at the end of the regular season.
Now Bleacher Report has too honored the Redskins’ slot corner as the best slot defender in the NFL. On Wednesday, the sports website Fuller No. 1 in their top slot defender rankings.
Our top slot defender this season, sophomore corner Kendall Fuller made a massive leap in performance from 2016. His much-improved balance and reaction time is a direct result of cleaner footwork in his backpedal off the line, and it helped him snag four interceptions and break up 10 passes. His run defense could stand to improve, especially since he has more length than most players at his position. The 22-year-old looks like the future face of the position after such a tremendous campaign.
—NFL1000 DB Scout, Ian Wharton
It’s a maturation that was evident when he was locking down wide receivers and split out tight ends while at Good Counsel (Md.) and Virginia Tech. Any concerns over a lackluster rookie season, should have been tossed aside because of his recovery. As Ian Wharton of B/R states, Fuller is on the verge of becoming the face of the slot corner position, that was previously held by Chris Harris Jr. of the Denver Broncos.
As the Redskins look to improve on a disappointing 2017 season, one area that has the least of their concerns is their secondary. That’s in large due to the development of Fuller in the slot. His in-depth skill set allows him to play any zone or man-to-man coverage asked in their defensive scheme.