The series continues its look back at the 2009 draft class, next on the list was the 5th round pick, Xavier Fulton. Fulton is a 6’5″, 301 lb. offensive lineman out of Illinois that was once a defensive tackle. Fulton is an interesting player and the current situation at offensive tackle (Penn saga rolls on) he may see more playing time than expected.
Fulton was a defensive tackle when he first came onto the scene at Illinois. But after tearing his ACL, he was asked to move to offensive tackle due to the lack of depth the Illini had. Fulton played well, earning 2nd team All-Big Ten in 2007. He has long arms and a large frame, making him ideal to block rushers coming off the corner. He battled a strained shoulder most of his last year and is still learning the tackle position.
Fulton is a very intriguing player. He has the size, arm length, and good footwork to make the transition to tackle, but he is raw and lacks the technique needed in the NFL. He lacks the foot work, but has enough speed to get off the ball and block defenders. His hand work needs developing, but a converted defensive tackle, he is doing well. He is simply raw, he has all the ideal size (probably will add a few pounds) and skill set to become a good starting tackle in the league.
Fulton played in all 4 preseason games last year before tearing his ACL and placed on the IR list. He enters this season healthy and with a unique chance to potentially earn a starting position. Penn is still holding out and weight concerns continue to swirl about him, while the backup, Demar Dotson is a converted basketball player and is not quite ready to handle the position, and the list goes on of other players that do not have the skill to play the tackle position. If Fulton proves himself and Penn continues to hold out, it could open the door for Fulton. Only time will tell now for him.
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