Eric Murtaugh of SB Nation’s Notre Dame blog, One Foot Down, has been lucky enough to watch Will Fuller grow as both a player and a person for the last three years. Seeing as how Fuller is expected to contribute early and often to the Texans' offense in 2016, Eric was kind enough to answer some of our burning questions about Houston’s latest first round pick.
1. What can you tell me about Will Fuller off the field? What can he bring to an NFL locker room?
He was pretty quiet off the field, pretty brutally so at times. He had a quiet true freshman season and even when he blew up as a sophomore, he wasn't in the media spotlight that much. This past season we finally got a glimpse of his personality as he became the face of the Notre Dame offense. Honestly, just about the only thing I can recall of him mentioning in the media is that he was coming back for his senior season. Unfortunately for Irish fans, he didn't follow through on that promise. In terms of the NFL, I'd think it'll take him a while to establish himself in the locker room and as a leader.
2. The biggest knock on Fuller is obviously the dropped passes. His game against Boston College in particular has been picked apart multiple times. Is this issue being overblown, or should Texans fans expect to see a lot of balls hit the ground that should be caught?
There's legit concern about his dropped passes. I don't think he has great hands and he definitely struggled catching the ball away from his body throughout his career. Maybe the biggest issue was that he didn't really improve in this area over the years.
3. Outside of blazing speed, what is Fuller's biggest strength?
I'd go with his vision in the open field with the ball in his hands. Fuller is really good cutting against the grain and finding open grass to use his elite speed. As a sophomore, he was devastating on screens and that was before he was known primarily as a deep ball threat.
4. Outside of drops, what is his biggest weakness?
I think he has to improve in the red zone. He's small and didn't produce as much as he should in those tight areas when things can get really physical. Once screens were taken away and he couldn't blow the top off the secondary, he was a little bit more limited.
5. What are your long term expectations for Fuller as a pro? Would you have taken him 21st overall if given the opportunity?
It's tough to say, but I would have waited until the early 2nd round. However, in the grand scheme, it's not a big deal. Fuller is tough to predict, though. He's not big or physical enough to be a No. 1 receiver, I don't think, and he lacks the agility to be a return man on special teams.
Still, he's just so damn fast. And there needs to be something said for his ability to make plays in big moments. While he's not physical like Dez Bryant, he does have a sneaky toughness about his game. Fuller got a little bigger throughout his career but he was always small and was seemingly always healthy.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Eric for joining us today. You can check out his excellent coverage on all things Irish over at One Foot Down.