If you look back at the Detroit Lions first three preseason games, some will say that wide receiver Corey Fuller has had a pretty mediocre preseason, seeing that he has only caught three passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. While some still believe that his chances of making the team are slim, I would say don’t be so quick to doubt Fuller’s ability to make the Lions 53-man roster.
As someone who was part of the Lions’ practice squad last year, Fuller came into training camp and preseason play with a more established confidence around him. Although some will say that it doesn’t show in his stats, head coach Jim Caldwell has always been quick to say that Fuller has stood out in camp.
“He’s been making some plays.” Coach Caldwell said during the first week of training camp. “I think you can see out here that he’s been catching the ball well. Often times, that’s what maturity does for you. He’s been in the league for a short period of time and he’s gotten better than he was last year. We anticipate that he will continue to improve.”
Keep in mind that coach Caldwell isn’t the only one who also spoke very highly of the Fuller, Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, also said that he was impressed with Fuller, early on training camp.
“Corey [Fuller] has shown a lot of ability to stretch the field, get down field and make big plays.” Coach Lombardi said, during the second week of training camp. “He’s got a skill set that is very enticing for speed and he’s tall and runs good routes. I’m really impressed with him.”
Now I know Fuller is more of an unknown asset compared to someone like wide receiver Kris Durham who has also had a good preseason. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Fuller has made huge leaps since the Lions selected him in the sixth round of last year’s draft.
Again, Fuller’s preseason stats may not show it, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has matured while also enhancing skill set. Coming into camp, at 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, Fuller was already a truly a gifted athlete, that brings speed and explosiveness out of his cuts, making him a weapon as a receiver. However after watching him back on film, you can see that Fuller has worked on tracking the football down and learned how to come away with the contested catch. If you think I am exaggerating, just look at his 21-yard game-winning touchdown catch in the final minutes of the exhibition opener against the Cleveland Browns
Now is Fuller still somewhat raw and rough around the edges? Yes, absolutely, but at this point that is be expected considering this is only his second year in the NFL. Nevertheless, his raw skill set, doesn’t change the fact that Fuller is growing into a better receiver who can help the Lions now and in the future. He just has to go out and prove it again on Thursday in the Lions final preseason game of the year.
What I like most about all of this is the fact that Fuller’s understands how important Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Bills is to his career and more importantly, he isn’t going to let anything including others concerns and doubts, stop him from making an impact and hopefully making this team.
“It’s my last chance to show coaches what I can do,” he said. “Hopefully I can stick around.”
One thing’s for sure, coach Caldwell will be watching Fuller and I don’t know about you but I think coach Caldwell is going to like what he sees from the young receiver on Thursday.
“I like a lot of things about him.” Coach Caldwell speaking on what he needs to see from WR Corey Fuller on Thursday. “Ironically we had an opportunity to work him out when I was with Baltimore. So we brought him in and certainly could see his skill level. I had a chance to compete against his brother for quite some time while he was down at Tennessee. He’s a guy from a football family. He has physical tools, he can run, jump, catch. He can certainly take the top off a defense and stretch the field. He’s a willing learner and he’s done a great job I think of doing the little things to try to improve himself and he keeps getting better all the time. He’s got a tremendous upside.”
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
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