We are now a little over a week away from the 2020 NFL Draft. As we approach the closest thing sports fans have to a live sporting event during this COVID-19 pandemic, sportsbooks continue to give bettors ample opportunity for action. There are markets ranging from how many players at certain positions will be selected in the first round, to how many players from individual schools will be taken, to who will be drafted by a particular team as well as even head-to-head draft position props.
William Hill Sportsbook has set the over/under on the overall draft position for star press-cover cornerback Kristian Fulton at 24.5.
What does history tell us?
Cornerback has developed into the premium defensive position in the NFL over the past decade, directly correlating with the league shifting to more pass-heavy offensive schemes. The league has slowly turned away from the days of “ground and pound,” with quarterbacks now being asked to air the ball out frequently. It’s why stopping four- and five-wide receiver spread formations requires quality cover cornerbacks now more than ever.
Top corners can buy time for the pass-rushers with coverage often at the mercy of the opposing passing game. Teams yearn for the next Deion Sanders or Darrelle Revis because, outside of elite shutdown ability, the perfect pass combined with a precisely timed route will beat the tight coverage almost every time.
SI’s LSU Tigers Maven Harrison Valentine astutely highlighted that Fulton had a quiet season in 2019 in terms of stats, but that’s because opposing quarterbacks rarely threw in his direction. Sound familiar to the hall-of-famers referenced above?
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The 6-foot-1,197-pound Fulton enters the 2020 NFL Draft having shown maturity after facing adversity in college. Fulton was suspended by the NCAA for the entire 2017 season after being caught tampering with a drug test for performance enhancing drugs. Fulton would later admit that he performed the indiscretion to avoid testing positive for marijuana use.
Fulton was reinstated prior to the 2018 season and had a solid campaign, compiling nine passes defensed with one interception in 10 starts. During LSU’s 2019 national championship season, he started 15 games with 15 passes defensed and one interception to his credit, while consistently drawing the opponent’s No. 1 wideout.
At the NFL Combine, Fulton clocked in with a 4.46 40-yard dash and 35.5-inch vertical jump, both among the best marks for cornerbacks in this year's draft class. SI’s LSU Tigers Maven Glen West recently noted that in Kevin Hanson’s latest mock draft, 13 LSU Tigers landed within the first five rounds. He highlights that Fulton lands with the Vikings at No. 25 after losing Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander in the offseason. In Sports Illustrated’s updated Top 100 Big Board 2.0, he checks in at No. 20.
Betting Outlook: From all indications, Fulton is drawing strong interest from the Falcons at No. 16, the Raiders at No. 19, the Vikings at No. 22, the Saints at No. 24, the Packers at No. 30, the 49ers at No. 31 and the Colts at No. 34. Fulton's off-field issues are well in the past at this point and his tape over the past couple seasons is what now speaks volumes. I am willing to gamble that performing as the top corner on the defending National Champions, against the best teams in the nation in the SEC, will translate to a team drafting Fulton within the top-24 picks.
The Play: UNDER pick 24.5 (-110)
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