The Falcons don’t HAVE to take a corner in the first round, but it is almost a guarantee they will select one with one of their first two picks. After cutting Desmond Trufant, Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield look to be the two starters, and they can’t be the only options when you’re in a division with Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Luckily, there is a boatload of quality corners that could be ready to start from the jump and will be available in the late first and second round. One of those guys who should be around when the Falcons pick at 16 is LSU’s, Kristian Fulton.
As an LSU grad, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Fulton develop tremendously over his career. He played in just three games as a freshman after being a top recruit coming out of high school and figured to be a starter as a sophomore. However, Fulton found himself in some deep water with the NCAA after attempting to tamper with a drug test. He admitted to using marijuana days earlier and was eventually suspended for two years. Fortunately, the NCAA only made him serve one of those, and he was reinstated for the 2018 season, where he outplayed Greedy Williams, who was eventually drafted by the Browns in the second round last year. Fulton went on to start every game for the Tigers last season on their way to the national championship, breaking up 14 passes and recording one interception.
A pure press-man corner, Fulton has experience playing in an extremely complex defense at LSU that put a lot of pressure on him, which is why many LSU corners have so much success at the next level. Most of the time, he thrived this past year, but there were games — like at Texas and in the national championship — where he was beaten several times. Still, Fulton only allowed a completion percentage of 40% during his college career — an incredible feat — and can do almost anything you ask from him as a corner. He has confidence, swagger, a multitude of techniques at the line of scrimmage, and when he is targeted, he does a terrific job of making a play on the ball.
Like every corner, there are some negatives. His skills on the ball need some work. Fulton is never going to be a guy that racks up a ton of interceptions (he only had two over his career at LSU), which leads to another one of his flaws. He frequently has trouble locating the football, as he spends a lot of the time face-guarding his man. However, his instincts and ability to read the receivers’ body/eyes make up for that — the primary reason why he consistently led his team in pass breakups. Fulton can also be a little too overaggressive, which can lead to chunk yards for the opposing team, and his frame isn’t as coveted as many of the other corners at the top end of the draft.
The LSU star has the potential to become a starting cornerback in the NFL, but I’m not quite sure he will be ready to start from day one, which is what the Falcons need, especially if they are going to reach for him in the first round. I like the prospect of trading back a few spots, picking up some extra picks, and taking Fulton. However, standing pat and selecting him 16th overall may be a bit of a reach. Somehow, if he’s still around at pick 47, it’s a no brainer, but I don’t see that as a possibility.
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