Height: 6'0" Weight: 199 lbs
College: South Carolina
Drafted: Third Round, 80th overall
Five year cornerback Chris Culliver is now with the Washington Redskins after spending his first four seasons in San Francisco. Here's what Redskins fans should know about him.
#1. Chris Culliver hails from Garner, North Carolina and attended Garner High School. He was a five star recruit in class of 2007 according to rivals.com. He didn't start playing football until his sophomore year of high school. As a junior (2005), he registered 127 tackles, seven sacks and three interceptions. The following year he registered 160 tackles and five interceptions. He chose to play his college football at South Carolina and snubbed Florida and NC State. He was the best player in North Carolina and third best wide receiver in the country. Mike Farrell, recruiting analyst for rivals.com said this about Culliver as a defensive guy:
Culliver is an impressive physical specimen with a linebacker's build and a cornerback's speed. He is very explosive, closes well and is a sure tackler. He can project to either strong or free safety due to his rare combination of size, strength and speed. Culliver has loose hips although he's better in zone coverage than man-to-man. He plays physical at times but could be a bigger hitter.
Culliver has a second gear when closing on the ball but needs to be more consistent play in and play out. He has potential as a blitzer, although he needs to be more elusive at the line. His speed allows him to turn and run with anyone and his size lets him redirect receivers and put them off their routes. Culliver could grow into an outside linebacker in college and play at 220 pounds, but he'll start his career in the middle of the field at either safety slot.
#2. As a freshman (2007), he only started one game at wide receiver against Tennesee. He made more of an impact that year as a kick returner. He was named to the Sporting News All-SEC Freshman team as a kick returner (34 kick returns, 809 yards (23.8 yards per return). He ranked eighth in the SEC with his kick return average and second in school history with his total yards. In his sophomore year (2008), he became the starting kick returner and free safety playing in 12 games. He ranked fourth in the SEC with 34 returns for 821 yards (24.1 yards per return) and had a career high 67 yard return in a win over Tennessee.
As a junior (2009), he started 12 games and was Second-team All-SEC pick by the AP and a third-team selection by Phil Steele at free safety. In his final season with the Gamecocks (2010), he registered 34 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two passes defensed and a forced fumble. For his career defensively, he had 156 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, 17 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. As a kick returner, he had 106 kick returns and 2476 yards (23.4 yards per return).
#3. Culliver spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers starting in 2011 and only played 3 seasons with the team due to going on the Injured Reserve list for a knee injury in 2013. In 2014, he registered 45 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble.
#4. According to Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda, head coach Jay Gruden is very impressed with Culliver:
"Chris Culliver was one of the better corners we had graded and (was) a major target for us," Gruden said last month of the free agent signing at the NFL Annual Meetings in Phoenix. "I like his toughness, I think he’s a great tackler, great competitor, obviously — you could see that on tape — and I think he has the ability to travel with the better receivers."
#5. Culliver's twitter name (@Cullyinthehouse) describes how he looks at his matchups on the field:
"My name’s not ‘Cully in the House’ for no reason, you know?" They playing in my house. So when I’m out there, I think of it as a house. It’s just me and you, can’t go nowhere, and that’s the fun part about it. Especially when you get those opportunities to do that or compete against whoever you’re getting to compete against, you relish those type of moments and compete and do what you do.
Bottom Line: He's going to bring an intensity to the defense that fans have not seen. I have a good feeling about that. He could be come one of the leaders of the defense along with D'Angelo Hall. Those two on the same defense could be dangerous.