Kristian Fulton says what any other player at his position would say ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
“I definitely feel like I am the best corner that is coming out,” Fulton told Sporting News after a workout at IMG Academy.
Fulton, a 6-foot, 197-pound cornerback from LSU, is the third-highest-ranked cornerback on SN’s top 100 Big Board, behind only Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah and Florida’s CJ Henderson. All three cornerbacks come from NFL Draft factories, and Fulton’s confidence stems from the lessons learned at LSU.
The Tigers have produced three first-round picks at the position since 2011, an A-list of Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne and Tre’Davious White. Donte Jackson and Greedy Williams were second-round picks in the last two drafts, respectively. That’s the network Fulton trusts will help him have success at the next level.
“I feel like I have a lot of resources to reach out to help me at the next level,” Fulton said. “Besides just my skill set, it’s having a special IQ for the game.
“It’s just how we like it at LSU,” he said. “I feel like we have the best guys. We feel like we can take No. 1 receivers away. We get used to that early and often here.”
Fulton learned that in his first practices back at LSU, in 2016, when lined up across Travin Dural. As Fulton puts it, it was an ‘Oh, my’ moment.’ Fulton, however, learned his biggest lessons from a 19-month suspension stemming from a tampered drug test. He used that time to study, and to become a more mature player.
“I’d say that just learning at this level it’s not athletic ability that will help you get by the whole time,” Fulton said. “It was watching more film. Being able to study receivers and learn what they are going to give you. It was about becoming a more mature player on and off the field.”
Fulton played in seven games in 2018 before season-ending foot surgery. He finally emerged last season after growing from battles with Biletnikoff Award-winner Ja’Marr Chase in practice. Who won those one-on-ones every week?
“He’ll tell you because he always kept count during the season, but I believe I finished one or two up on him,” Fulton said.
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Fulton finished with 38 tackles and an interception opposite All-American freshman Derek Stingley Jr. for the Tigers, who won their first College Football Playoff national championship in 2019 and first title since 2007. Fulton ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He had two career interceptions and wants to “change that narrative in the league.”
Fulton is projected as a first- or second-round pick, but still maintains the confidence of a top cornerback.
“I feel like it was the same way when Tre’Davious came out. I kind of see me and him as somewhat of a similar situation as senior season having some kind of hype but still getting pushed behind others.”
For Fulton, it’s about living up to the standard set by the other LSU cornerbacks in the NFL now.
“I want to keep that tradition going,” he said. “To follow that tradition and hopefully get on the board in the first round and do all the things those guys did. That is the goal.”
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