February 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

'First-round talent' Kyle, brother of Lions' Corey, another NFL-bound Fuller

Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller (17) could be a first-round selection in May's NFL draft. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Indianapolis — They likely won’t become as recognizable as the Manning family, but the Fullers might soon be one of the NFL’s premier families.

Vincent Fuller played safety in the league for seven years, including one game for the Lions in 2011. The Lions drafted Corey, a 6-foot-2 receiver, in the sixth round last year.

Cornerback Kyle could be a first-round pick this May, and Kendall, the youngest, was the Atlantic Coast Conference’s defensive rookie of the year as a freshman cornerback at Virginia Tech, where his three brothers played as well.

“I’m very competitive, especially with my brothers,” Kyle Fuller said Sunday at the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. “That’s definitely helped me to where I am now. We always want to be better than each other no matter whether it’s how fast we are, the plays we make, things like that, you know?”

The 6-foot, 195-pound Kyle Fuller made enough plays for the Hokies in 2013 to become a second-team All-ACC coaches’ selection despite missing the second half of the season with a sports hernia that required surgery in November. Though the injury was a setback and held him out of the Senior Bowl, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said last week Fuller is a first-round talent.

“The Fuller kid I really like,” Mayock said on a conference call. “I have got him as my third-ranked corner. I think he's a first-round talent. He's long, he tackles, he has ball skills. I think the key for him is what he runs that (40-yard dash) in. If he comes in as a sub 4.5 (seconds), I think he's a first-round lock.”

Fuller said he wants to beat Corey’s time of 4.37 seconds (hand-timed) from last year’s combine. If he does that Tuesday, Fuller will solidify his first-round projection, but his dream of playing with his brother in Detroit would likely go out the window.

While the Lions need a cornerback, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert are the top two prospects and would be considered more with the 10th overall pick in May if the Lions elect to pick a cornerback.

Corey, meanwhile, didn’t make any plays for the Lions last season after being relegated to the practice squad, but Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said at the combine he’s excited to see his continued development.

“Corey’s got size; he’s got speed,” Mayhew said. “He was a guy that was a track guy who came to football late. He’s really, I think, improved since we’ve had him. His big thing has been a need to get stronger in the weight room. I think he’s worked very hard at that.

“I think another year in the offseason program is really going to benefit him quite a bit, so I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

Kyle Fuller said Corey has been training with him at Tom Shaw’s facility in Orlando, Fla. and has bulked up to nearly 205 pounds, nearly 10 pounds heavier than his draft weight.

“(Corey) looks the best I’ve seen him,” Fuller said.

In preparing for the combine, Fuller said his brothers told him to relax because this is something he’s done his entire life. He’s been competitive his whole life, too, whether playing video games or racing against his brothers.

“We’ve had a couple races,” Fuller said. “I’ve won one, Corey won one, so we’re always competing. … I know we’ve got to get that (tiebreaker) whenever we’re all home.”

Fuller said his dream is to be a first-round pick, but he’s focused on the process that will lead to the desired results.

“I’ve just got to do what I have to do and whatever team takes me I’ll be happy to be with them,” he said.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com
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