Redskins: Kendall Fuller named starting slot cornerback for 2017

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 01: Cornerback Kendall Fuller
LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 01: Cornerback Kendall Fuller /

Kendall Fuller had an up-and-down rookie season for the Washington Redskins in 2016. He appears to be ready for the slot cornerback role in his second year.

In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins were able to land a falling cornerback in the the third round. Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller was one the board, and they happily snapped him up when they were on the clock. Fuller had been considered to be a potential early second rounder, but a troublesome knee injury made teams wary of selecting him too early. That ended up working out to the Redskins benefit.

During his first action with the team in the 2016 preseason, Fuller flashed potential. There were many who thought he should earn the top slot cornerback role, but that eventually went to Dashaun Phillips. After Phillips was injured early in the season, Fuller took over the role and had immediate success. However, as the year went along he hit a rookie wall and ended up getting benched at times towards the end of the season.

This offseason, Fuller has looked good once again. He has proven to be consistent, and has generally provided good coverage through the course of the team’s two preseason contests. Fuller’s performance has been good enough that he has officially earned the top slot cornerback job, per CSN Mid-Atlantic’s JP Finlay.

While this move is not a surprise for the Redskins, it will have an impact on a couple of members of their roster.

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The first is rookie third rounder Fabian Moreau. The UCLA product has actually started his career similarly to Fuller. He was a fringe first round talent who fell due to an injury. He has played sparingly in the preseason, but has looked excellent while doing so. Moreau was expected to challenge Bashaud Breeland for the No. 2 corner job, but there was an outside chance that he would get some looks in the slot. With that now out of the equation, Moreau figures to start the year as the primary backup and will have a big role on special teams.

Elsewhere, rookie seventh rounder Joshua Holsey‘s roster chances are slightly decreased by this announcement. Holsey has looked good in the preseason, but his lack of size seems likely to limit him to the nickel position. He still has a chance to make the roster as a backup, but if the team decides they need to carry depth elsewhere, Holsey could be relegated to practice squad duties early on in his career.

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At the end of the day, Fuller deserves the job. He is the player who is most ready for it, and he has earned it with his play. That said, if he starts the season slowly at the position, the Redskins coaching staff won’t be afraid to have a quick hook on him, like they did in the 2016 season. The team has nice depth at cornerback, and it appears to be one of the strengths on their roster.