The Dolphins announced today the signing of wide receiver William Fuller V. The Notre Dame product spent the first five years of his NFL career in Houston after being selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Oftentimes, wide receivers with a high-end top-gear develop reputations as one-trick ponies – incomplete players. With regards to Will Fuller, that couldn't be further from the truth. The Texans lined him up all over the formation and he's shown an ability to beat all types of coverages.
Aligned to the boundary or the field, condensed inside as the slot or in a "nasty" split (in tight to the formation), Fuller's versatility made him invaluable to the Texans passing game. In the 11 games he played in 2020, Fuller topped 82 percent of the offense's snaps on eight occasions.
Fuller can change direction on a dime and uses his strength and athleticism to work many different releases at the line of scrimmage. Many of his big plays occurred as the result of turning defensive backs around and snapping off his route with considerable separation.
In his five NFL seasons, Fuller has played 23.9 percent of his snaps in the slot (PFF). Regardless of where he lines up, his speed, ball-tracking and contested catch ability make him dangerous for opposing defenses. His 4.32 40-yard dash time measures in the 99th percentile all time at the Scouting Combine.
Fuller's top-end speed and deep-ball ability is accounted for by defenses on every snap. In addition to making game-changing plays on a regular basis, his presence oftentimes opens up the short-to-intermediate portions of the field. He's also adept at creating immediate separation at the line, making him a threat on a variety of different routes.
The Stats (Courtesy of Pro Football Focus)
Pro Football Focus' ninth-highest graded wide receiver in 2020, Fuller had a breakout campaign. He caught 53 passes for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games. He caught 70.7 percent of his passes at an average of 16.6 yards per reception.
With an average depth of target of 13.3 yards, no receiver in the NFL with a higher aDoT had a better catch percentage than Fuller's 70.7 clip. He led the NFL in yards per target at 11.7.
Fuller's 2.28 yards per route ran ranked 11th in the NFL. Texans quarterbacks had a 132.5 passer rating when targeting him in 2020.
The Roster Impact
Fuller provides a semblance of balance that the Dolphins needed to complement the skillsets of their other receivers in the passing game. His proven production attacking vertically forces defenses to account for his presence each snap and could create one-on-one opportunities for several other players in the Dolphins passing game.
The Dolphins found a big-play threat who has rounded into a complete receiver during his five NFL seasons. Fuller's statistical showing in 2020 bridges some gaps in the Dolphins offense from a season ago and could have a positive ripple effect on the entire unit.