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Five Things: Kendall Fuller

One of Miami's biggest splashes in free agency was the signing of cornerback Kendall Fuller, who opens a plethora of coverage options for new Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver.

Here are five things to know about Miami's newest lockdown cornerback Kendall Fuller:

1. Anywhere You Go, I'll Follow You Down

It's difficult to pinpoint Fuller's best attribute. Among his calling cards, the ability to align anywhere in the formation and play at a high level. In his first two NFL seasons with Washington, 88 percent of Fuller's snaps came from the slot.

Following a trade to Kansas City in 2018, Fuller moved into a hybrid role. In base defense, Fuller stayed outside. In the Chiefs' nickel package, he kicked inside to cover the slot. And he excelled at both.

Returning to Washington in 2020, Fuller made a full-time move to the perimeter, becoming one of the game's best cover corners in the process. For his career – which includes more than 4,500 snaps in coverage – Fuller has allowed a passer rating of just 89.4. He's also racked up 16 interceptions and 75 passes defensed.

2. Mano Y Mano

Fuller's coverage numbers are even more impressive when applying context. Washington played Fuller almost exclusively to the field in 2023 (the field is the wide side of the formation, meaning more space to cover). The Washington defense knew it could set-and-forget Fuller and roll help to other parts of the coverage.

When in man coverage in 2023, only three corners forced a higher tight window rate than Fuller.

3.*No Passing Zone*

Fuller might be even better in zone than he is in man coverage. Pro Football Focus graded Fuller as the fourth-best zone corner in 2023.

The tape shows a studious player with rare instincts for the position. Modern defenses require two things – flexibility and diversity of coverage. Confusing quarterbacks is tougher than it's ever been, but with a player like Fuller joining the likes of Jalen Ramsey and Jevon Holland and the rest of the Miami secondary, Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver can disguise his presentations and call upon multiple matchup erasers on the back end.

Fuller's 2023 tape is full of anticipating route concepts, driving into the passing lane before the football arrives, and recognizing screens and short passes with the downhill trigger to make plays on ball carriers.

4. Face in the Fan

It's not very common a lockdown cornerback is also one of the best tacklers at the position. "Stops" is a stat defined by tackles that constitute a defensive win (i.e. a tackle short of the sticks on third down). Fuller made 28 stops in 2023, which tied for first among all cornerbacks who play primarily on the perimeter.

5. Football Family

One member of any given family reaching football's mountain top is rarity. Now, imagine all four from the same offspring achieving the pinnacle that is the National Football League. Kendall is the youngest of four Fullers to play college ball at Virginia Tech before making it to the league.

Kyle Fuller, also a cornerback, played eight years in the NFL making two Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro nod in 2018 with Chicago. The backyard games must've been an even match with brother Corey – the wide receiver – being the offensive weapon. He was a sixth-round pick in 2013 ahead of a five-year run in the NFL. Vincent Fuller, the eldest son, was a fourth-round pick of the Titans and would go on to play seven years in the National Football League as a safety.

Combined, the Fuller brothers have 29 years of NFL experience.

For more analysis on Kendall Fuller, and the entire 2024 Dolphins free agency class, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield, available wherever you get your podcasts.