Have we mentioned yet that the Colts are desperately thin at WR entering the 2012 NFL Draft? With only Austin Collie under contract for 2012, Wide Receiver might garner multiple picks draft weekend, and could be any number of guys. One of these receivers is Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller, a big, physical receiver who looks the part of an NFL WR, but has some glaring issues.
Looking at Fuller's stats over his career, he had a very productive career. He played in 49 total games, missing only two games. He caught 233 passes for just over 3000 yards and 34 Touchdowns in his career, which looks very good. His junior season was by far his best, going over 1000 yards receiving and hauling in 12 TDs, and had many people believing he should enter the draft early. In hindsight, that would have been the better decision.
While Fuller played in all 13 games for the Aggies last season, a disappointing 7-6 season that had them in the Top 10 early on, he battled nagging knee injuries and a concussion throughout the season. It's tough to tell how much they played into his poor production, but Fuller really had problems dropping very easy passes. Remember, he had a QB in Ryan Tannehill that will undoubtedly go in the top 15 in this draft, if not higher. He was asked about the drops at the Combine, and whether it was a confidence issue:
I don't know about confidence. I really wasn't getting reps. I was catching out of the jugs machine. I catch tennis balls every day. I hate to make excuses. I had a lot of things happen out of character this year and there's no one to blame but myself. It's just really unfortunate.
I have to give the kid credit for owning his poor season, but it really hurt his draft stock. To top off his miserable season, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot at the Senior Bowl, putting into question whether he can stay healthy after yet another injury. It may just be unlucky, but teams don't base their decisions on "luck".
After the jump we have what some draft sites have to say about Fuller, as well as all his measurements from the Combine and my thoughts on him.
A physically imposing wide out with a tall frame, thick trunk and impressive overall muscle tone through his legs and calves. Physically the guy right now is built like a legit NFL receiver...A talented kid who looked like one of the draft's best receiver prospects as a junior, but his game has really fallen off as a senior. A lack of focus, dropped footballs and questionable separation skills will cause him to fall.
A big outside-the-numbers, possession/red-zone receiver, Fuller looks the part, has NFL bloodlines and shows playmaking ability in flashes, but leg, ankle and hamstring injuries have slowed his progress. Has a ceiling as a No. 2, but has to shore up his hands.
Fuller is a tall, well-built receiver who makes good plays across the field despite being a slow-mover and rarely being able to get away from defenders. He doesn't show much ability to run after the catch or block in the run game, and he can struggle when trying to get off the line. He also had an injury-filled senior year in which he was dealt with a nagging hamstring.
With so many big, possession-type receivers in the 2012 Draft, I think there are quite a few better options than Fuller, who is really going to get hammered in interviews by teams over what happened in his senior season. The injuries are concerning, the drops are concerning, and his dedication is concerning. If you go on his first three years he's not a bad prospect, but when the lights shown brightest, he basically didn't show up. I'm guessing somebody will take a chance on the guy, but I don't think it'll be the Colts, who need receivers that can play immediately.
For a complete list of prospects and profiles, check out our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.