In the months leading up to the NFL Draft and even during the draft broadcast itself, analysts often try to compare prospects to current NFL players as a way of giving the audience an idea of what to expect from said prospect at the next level. With Will Fuller in the fold, what NFL player does he most resemble?
Jason Schandl of numberFire looked at the data, and here's what he had to say about the newest member of your Houston Texans before answering that question.
If you're interested in this year's wide receiver class, there's no better place to start than Reception Perception, a project put together by NFL.com's Matt Harmon. Harmon charted games from 21 of the top receiver prospects, tracking their production in a variety of situations.
Harmon's numbers raise some concerns about Fuller as a first round pick. His 64.7 percent success rate versus man coverage was below average, his 20% success rate against double coverage (albeit over a very small sample size) was below average, and his 42.4 percent success rate against press coverage was the worst among the prospects charted. He also only recorded a catch on 13.5 percent of his routes run.
He did excel against zone coverage though, ranking ninth with a 76.7 percent success rate, had an above average success rate when running "nine" routes, and broke tackles at an above-average rate.
Schandl goes on to examine Fuller's speed and college production, both of which are quite impressive, before concluding with a comparison to another current NFL wideout.
These numbers draw him a comparison with Mike Wallace. Wallace's recent struggles have made him the butt of some jokes, but it's important not to lose sight of the fact that Wallace posted 3,206 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns through his first three seasons. Per Pro Football Reference, both of those rank fifth among receivers since 2000.
If the Texans just got themselves the Mike Wallace that broke into the NFL as a third-round pick with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2009, I'd consider this pick a home run. Wallace has fizzled since leaving Pittsburgh, but he was a monster. Does that analysis make you feel any differently about Will Fuller coming to Houston?