Much attention has been paid to the weaknesses throughout the Buffalo Bills’ defense during the 2015 NFL season, but heading into the 2016 offseason the team will need to make upgrades along the offense as well. Under Greg Roman, wide receiver Sammy Watkins has emerged as a game-changer at the wide receiver position, but injuries suffered to Percy Harvin, Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods have exposed the lack of depth and sure talent the Bills have on their depth chart. Today, we’ll take a look at Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller.
Previous Prospect Breakdowns
Will Fuller Physical Attributes
Will Fuller is listed at 6’0” and 184 pounds, so he doesn’t have the ideal size you look for at the position. However, he’s got incredible play speed and athleticism that make him a legitimate deep threat that can take the top off of a defense. He’s strong for his size and is willing to get his hands dirty in the run game as a blocker, routinely cutting off defenders or driving them downfield.
Ideally, you’d like to see him add another five-to-ten pounds to his frame, but for the role Fuller will likely fill on an offense, his speed is more of an asset than his size.
Will Fuller Route Running Ability
Will Fuller is one of the better route runners in the 2016 NFL Draft class, accelerating through breaks and creating separation from defensive backs with ease. In the following clip, Fuller gains ground on USC’s Adoree Jackson before using a subtle outside step to get Jackson’s hips turned before bursting across him and down the field. Fuller is wide open and scores easily from 70-yards out.
He’s quick getting in and out of his breaks and doesn’t waste steps, so Fuller is successful on in-breaking routes like the following play shows. Lined up against Ronald Darby, Fuller runs a quick slant, beating him across the face before gaining an additional 20 or so yards-after-the-catch.
Fuller is a smart player that understands coverages as displayed in the next rep against Texas. Texas is in a soft zone coverage and it appears that Fuller has a sight-adjustment option based on the safety, where he’d either run a go-route or a post route. After getting on top of Texas’ defensive back, Fuller breaks inside, finding himself wide open and scores easily.
Because of his deep speed, defenses are forced to play off-coverage or give him a bit of a cushion on most of his routes. That leaves them susceptible to comeback routes, where Fuller is able to sell the go-route before stopping on a dime, turning back to the quarterback for the reception and moving the chains.
Will Fuller Hands/Catching
In the last two seasons Will Fuller has caught 138 passes for 2,352 yards and 29 touchdowns, but he’s also dropped 21 passes in that timeframe. He’s not a natural hands-catcher and will let passes get into his body, rather than extending and plucking the ball out of the air.
That very issue is shown in the following play against UMass, as Fuller waits for the ball rather than attacking it. He can’t secure the pass and it results in an interception.
Will Fuller does a good job tracking the ball in the air on vertical routes. Here, he uses a double move to beat Adoree Jackson before tracking the ball and making the over-the-shoulder grab.
Will Fuller Yards-After-Catch
Will Fuller has a nose for the end zone and displays excellent field vision. He’s got great lateral agility to cut and make defenders miss while picking up big chunks of yardage.
Fuller is a threat on screens as well, as his acceleration and ability to weave through defenders often results in six points for Notre Dame.
Potential Fit With Buffalo Bills
Will Fuller is an explosive receiver that the Bills thought they had when they signed Percy Harvin. However, with his status unclear, Will Fuller provides the vertical threat that Buffalo’s offense clearly covets. They’ve experimented with track stars such as T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin to fill that “speed” role, but Fuller offers more than just speed, as he’s a threat on screens, underneath crossing routes and will provide help as a run blocker. Fuller is a solid player that would be a great addition on Day Two of the 2016 NFL Draft.