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Road to the Pros: LSU Cornerback Kristian Fulton Will Establish Himself as Reliable Defensive Back in NFL

Fulton one of six Tigers in first round territory

It may have felt like Kristian Fulton had a quiet season in 2019, but that’s far from the truth. Lining up alongside Derek Stingley, Fulton’s play actually spoke loud and clear, and because of that, quarterbacks rarely threw his direction, finishing as one of the top press-man corners in all of college football.

Fulton enters the NFL Draft as another potential first-round prospect for the Tigers. The 6-foot-0, 197 pounder nicknamed “K-Baby” ran an impressive 4.46 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, finishing as Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded CB in SEC play in each of the past two seasons.

His story is especially unique, and one built on redemption. In 2017, Fulton received a devastating two-year suspension from the NCAA for tampering with his PED urine test sample before the season. He realized he made a big mistake, but the ruling seemed unusually harsh.

After sitting out 2017, and continuing to practice with the team and complete his necessary school work, Fulton was reinstated before the 2018 season after an NCAA interpretation panel reviewed his case and allowed him to be reinstated to the team effective immediately.

“He practiced every day like he was a starter,” Orgeron said when Fulton was reinstated. “He never blinked. I’m so proud of the young man. It’s the ultimate story of competing.”

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“Knowing that he has over top type of abilities, he also has the confidence to match,” said Jordan Reid of The Draft Network. “Fulton doesn’t back down from any other player across from him and that’s evident with the talent that he faced weekly in the SEC. Playing mostly left cornerback and assigned to the field, he was tasked with some of the nations best throughout his career.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Fulton is the only draft-eligible CB who didn't allow more first downs (20) than he had forced incompletions (20) and has the highest two-year coverage grade among power-five CB's in the draft (92.0), according to PFF.

In his career at LSU, Fulton allowed just 26 first downs and forced 34 incompletions. And, frankly, he might be one of the most underrated defensive backs that Corey Raymond has ever produced. He’s a first-round talent who’s well-built to make plays at the professional level.

Most Intriguing Destination: A New Orleans native and graduate of Archbishop Rummel High School, Fulton has known nothing else than Louisiana football. With cornerback being a position of need in the Big Easy -- along with receiver and linebacker -- a possible selection to his hometown Saints would be a match made in heaven, and a destination Who Dat Nation would surely enjoy.

Writer’s Note: With the NFL Draft just under six weeks from now, concerns surrounding COVID-19 will likely force the league to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks. For Fulton and the other LSU draft prospects, the early rounds in Las Vegas were primed to be dominated by Tigers. Stay tuned for updates as the situation develops.