"He is only a deep threat."
That is one of the more absurd critiques of a player you'll see in the draft cycle.
That is like someone saying that a defensive linemen can "only rush the passer."
That's like someone saying I am not compatible because I "can only give really good foot rubs..."
Sorry. Personal analogy. I digress.
The deep passing game is one of, if not the most important aspect of offensive football. Even the threat of a player who is consistently able to get open deep will completely change the makeup of an offense. It will stretch out a defenses alignment and will help the running game as well as the intermediate passing game.
That is the type of player Will Fuller is. Sure, he is a bit "one dimensional" but he is one dimensional in the most important aspect of football and the dynamic he brings to the table will help elevate offenses around him. It's not dissimilar to a basketball player who can't play defense or go up in the paint, but is deadly from downtown. It forces defenses to respect the perimeter and therefore, open up space in the paint for the big men to get the job done. Will Fuller is a special type of perimeter threat.
The thing that obviously stands about Fuller is the way he moves. As George Harrison would say, there is "Something in the way he moves." Sorry. I'll stop with that. Back to Fuller...
The way Fuller can glide on the field and seamlessly change gear is truly beautiful. His route running is clean and it's mesmerizing to see him accelerate out of his breaks. When the ball is in the air, he does a great job tracking it and jetting to get under it. With the ball in his hands, he has solid open field vision to go with his blazing speed to help him get yards after the catch. He is a big play waiting to happen.
The area where Fuller struggles is a relatively important one and that is catching the football, especially in traffic. Now, Fuller has moments where he can explode upward to the ball, going up and over defenders, to make a catch. However, he has a handful of moments where he can get bullied in traffic and even more frustrating moments where he will just drop easy passes. I said last week that it is important to do cost benefit analysis with players who drop a lot of passes. While Fuller may be frustrating, his ability to change the game at any moment is too valuable to just go away from him in a passing game. He definitely will offset his bad moments with outstanding ones. His inconstancy hurts his value in the draft, but it does not change that he he can be a very important piece of an offense
Comparison: To stick with the basketball theme, Will Fuller compares favorably to Clippers' shooting guard, JJ Redick. While neither are multi dimensional, their ability to threaten on the perimeter and score on the long ball at any moment make them both so valuable. Sure, it may make Fuller somewhat of a "role player", but it is an important role to play. Fuller, a soon to be 22 year old native of Philadelphia, has every chance to smooth out and improve his game, but even with who he is now, he can be a very good NFL player.
His fit in Philadelphia is obvious. While the team has speed at wide receiver, they do not have a player who has shown the ability to be a deep threat like Fuller has. Maybe the team hopes to get that dynamic from Nelson Agholor going forward, but it would be hard to pass on the immediate impact Fuller can make in that facet of the game.
Like I said before, Fuller is not flawless. He is far from it. Also, at 6-0, 170 pounds, he has an incredibly small frame that could worry teams. This would all make me hesitant to take him too high. However, a player who can score at any moment is still incredibly valuable, so if he is still on the board by the second round, he should be impossible to pass up.