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Dynasty Prospect Profile: Will Fuller

By Jared Smola 11:18am EDT 3/22/16

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Height: 6’0

Weight: 186

Age: 21.9


Combine results:

(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):

40-yard dash: 4.32 seconds (97th percentile)

Vertical: 33.5” (23rd percentile)

Broad: 10’6 (83rd percentile)

3-cone: 6.93 seconds (51st percentile)

20-yard shuttle: 4.27 seconds (32nd percentile)


College career:

A 4-star recruit, Fuller had a quiet 2013 season as a true freshman. But he gave us a glimpse of his big-play ability with that 26.7 yards-per-catch average.

He exploded in his 2nd year on campus, leading the Irish in receptions, yards and TDs. His 15 scores tied Golden Tate’s school record and ranked 3rd in the nation behind only Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins and Alabama’s Amari Cooper. Fuller also finished among the top 27 in catches and receiving yards.

The breakout sophomore season included four 100-yard outings, 3 multi-score games and at least 1 TD in 11 of 13 contests. Fuller had 19 grabs of 20+ yards, 8 of which went for TDs.

Despite catching 14 fewer balls this past year, Fuller set a new career high with 1,258 yards — thanks to a whopping 20.3 yards per catch. That mark ranked 2nd among all WRs with at least 50 receptions. Fuller also finished 16th in the country in receiving yards and 5th in TDs. He topped 100 yards in 7 of 13 games and scored in 10 different contests.

Fuller again paced his team in all major receiving categories. He accounted for 25.7% of Notre Dame’s catches, 37.4% of the receiving yards and 56% of the receiving scores. He was named a 2nd-Team All-American and a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist.


Film study:

Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com

Games watched - Florida St. (2014), Texas, UMass, USC

Two things stand out on Fuller’s tape: His elite speed and his shaky hands.

Let's start with the good. Fuller certainly plays to his 4.3 speed. He explodes off the line, reaches top speed quickly and consistently runs by DBs.

Will Fuller (Notre Dame) vs. USC (2015)


That speed also makes him a threat after the catch. Notre Dame regularly used him on WR screens. And check out the burst on this slant pattern against former Florida St. and current Buffalo Bills CB Ronald Darby:

William Fuller (Notre Dame) vs. Florida State (2014)


Now the bad: Fuller’s hands. I’d label them inconsistent, rather than bad, because he shows the ability to make tough grabs on occasion.

WR Will Fuller September 26 2015


Will Fuller (Notre Dame) vs. USC (2015)


But Fuller dropped 10 of 72 catchable targets this past season, according to Pro Football Focus — an ugly 13.9% drop rate.

His biggest problem is that he’s a “body catcher.” This play results in a catch because college rules require just 1 foot inbounds. But it could have been an easier completion — even with 2 feet inbounds — if he had attacked the ball out in front with his hands.

Will Fuller (Notre Dame) vs. Texas (2015)


Fuller’s tendency to body catch also makes him poor in contested situations. This play could have been a completion had he extended his arms and high-pointed the ball. Instead, he waits for it to get into his body, resulting in a breakup and INT.

WR Will Fuller September 26 2015


Fuller will also need to improve against press coverage and as a route runner. He rounds his breaks too often and doesn’t seem to have a great feel for coverages. There’s at least potential for him to be more effective on short and intermediate routes because the threat of his long-ball ability.


Fantasy potential:

Fuller’s top-end speed will translate to the NFL, but it won’t guarantee him fantasy success. Check out the other 26 WRs who have run sub-4.35 40 times at the Combine over the past 10 years.

There are a few studs on that list (Julio Jones, Brandin Cooks, T.Y. Hilton) but even more duds. Fuller ranks 6th in height and 12th in weight, so he’s on the bigger side of the cohort. His college production also stacks up well against anyone on that list, including Jones, Cooks and Hilton.

But Fuller’s shaky hands and unrefined route running leave him as a bit of a 1-trick pony — at least for now. His subpar ability in contested situations will make landing spot especially important. He needs a big-armed, accurate QB who can hit him in stride on those deep balls.

Fuller’s best-case scenario lands in T.Y. Hilton/DeSean Jackson territory — a borderline WR1 with volatile weekly production. Without major strides in his pass-catching and route-running, though, he’s more likely to settle in as a secondary situational deep threat. Think Torrey Smith or Ted Ginn.


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