NASHVILLE – From his earliest moments as a member of the Tennessee Titans, cornerback Kristian Fulton talked about the need to be on the same page as the rest of the secondary.
Monday, he took an important step toward that end when he put pen to paper and signed his contract. Based on his draft position, the four-year deal is expected to be worth $5.33 million overall with a $1.43 million signing bonus and a $610,000 base salary for this season.
The second-round pick out of LSU is the fifth of this year’s six selections to complete contract negotiations and one of two (first-round choice Isaiah Wilson was the other) who did not complete that process before last Thursday, when all of the team’s rookies as well as the quarterbacks were scheduled to report for the start of training camp.
“We all want to be on the same page,” Fulton said on draft day. “That’s how we’re able to get to that elite level of defense when you can check everybody on the field and you know they’re going to get their guy. That was one thing we had to do at LSU and obviously that’s led up to becoming elite at the end of the season, to make that [national championship] run.
“It’s definitely going to be important, especially coming in as a rookie, but I want to learn how to play, what they’re comfortable doing, and what they need me to do, so I can come in and step in and you can already have that connection heading into training camp.”
The delay in getting his deal done did not cause him to miss any on-field work. All players must test negative for COVID-19 twice in a 72-hour period before they can enter the team facility, and the first portion of this year’s training camp will be devoted to conditioning work, which was canceled early in the offseason due to the virus’ spread.
Fulton figures immediately to assume spot among the team’s top four cornerbacks along with returning veterans Malcolm Butler and Adoreé Jackson as well as free agent addition Johnathan Joseph. Whether he is a starter, the primary slot cornerback or a rotational piece of the defense remains to be seen.
“I think he’ll get in here and compete with the guys that we have on the roster,” general manager Jon Robinson said on draft day. “… His role will be defined by himself, how quickly he can acclimate himself to our football program. But he’s obviously [who] played at a high level at a really, really good program in college football. There was a lot asked of him defensively, a lot put on his plate to learn. We think that transition, hopefully, will be good for him.”
Ultimately, his goal is not simply to fit in. He wants to stand out.
“I set high expectations for myself,” Fulton said. “To win, you’ve got to stay the course in order to be the best. That’s a mindset that I take, you know, I’m excited. That’s how I feel about it.”