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The Devastating Departure of Kendall Fuller from the Redskins

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When news hit last night of the trade for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, all I could do was go to bed and cry myself to sleep. We’ve all read this book before - the Redskins, in typical fashion, trade valuable picks away for an aging veteran. I knew a player was involved, but I couldn’t stand to find out who...that could wait until morning.

When I woke to find out that “player to be named later” was Kendall Fuller, my blood pressure immediately flew through the roof! How could the front office make this kind of move? Why would they trade their best young cover corner, who was heading into year three of his VERY affordable rookie contract, as part of this deal?

Andy Reid, that ole’ Wolf in sheep’s clothing, had yet again fleeced the Redskins!

I’m not about to get into the what-if’s and could-be’s regarding Alex Smith in Jay Gruden’s offense. I’m not going to lament about the fact that we are looking at one of the best quarterback classes to enter the NFL Draft in decades. I’m not even going to compare win/loss records of Smith and Cousins, and make some wild projection of how this immediately makes us a better football team. No; this is all about the loss of Kendall Fuller!

Fuller was everything you wanted in a young football player. He was a local kid, who played his high school football at regional powerhouse Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland. He stayed close to home in college, attending Virginia Tech over scholarship offers from programs all over the country. He was drafted by the local NFL team, after just three seasons as a Hokie.

Fuller, who has significant NFL bloodlines - his three older brothers all played in the NFL, is smart, instinctive, athletic, long, coachable, and is just as good a player on the field as he is off. At age 22 (he will turn 23 in February), he was coming off his best season, in which he played in all 16 games, with six starts. After recovering from injury his rookie season, and struggling a bit to learn the nuances of the slot, he put up great numbers in 2017, and was arguable our best all-around cover corner.

On the 2017 season, Fuller had 55 combined tackles, 10 passes defended, four interceptions, and a forced fumble.

Bleacher Report named him as their top slot defender for 2017:

Our top slot defender this season, sophomore corner Kendall Fuller made a massive leap in performance from 2016. His much-improved balance and reaction time is a direct result of cleaner footwork in his backpedal off the line, and it helped him snag four interceptions and break up 10 passes. His run defense could stand to improve, especially since he has more length than most players at his position. The 22-year-old looks like the future face of the position after such a tremendous campaign.

—NFL1000 DB Scout, Ian Wharton

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Fuller’s game in his second season is how many techniques he’s mastered. When asked to play more aggressively, he gets his hand on the receiver to use him as a landmark and smoothly follows the receiver through the route. In zone coverage, he has the smooth backpedal and quick hip turn to stick and stay with receivers, as well as the recovery speed to race in and grab the football. He has the potential to be the best slot cornerback in the NFL, and one could argue that he was just that in 2017.

—NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

His ratings via Bleacher Report:

On a defense that ranked 21st in total yards allowed per game (348 YPG), and 27th in points allowed per game (24.2 PPG), giving up one of our brightest young stars is a complete travesty!

The Redskins need to build through this defense, not slowly tear it apart. Losing Fuller and possibly Breeland in the same offseason could represent a MAJOR front-office failure, and is a move that could set this unit back for years!

In typical Redskins fashion, like we always seem to do, Dan Synder and his henchmen have made the unthinkable become a reality - trading away picks and young talent for an aging, high-priced veteran.

Yep Andy Reid, you fleeced us again! Enjoy one of the best up-and-coming young corners in the league, while we feast on your left-overs!

And to Kendall - congrats young man! You probably do deserve much better than this dysfunctional organization could have ever given you. Best of luck in KC!