Hokies Fuller Chosen by Redskins in NFL Draft
By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Sports Writer
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - The Washington Redskins addressed their pass defense on the second day of the NFL draft, selecting USC hybrid linebacker/safety Su'a Cravens with the 53rd pick and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller with the 84th pick.
Team officials told Cravens they see him as a dime linebacker, a position he embraces.
"You can be a playmaker," Cravens said. "You can come sit down and be ready to protect against the run and then also be in space and cover and show your athleticism. It gives me a chance to use my instincts and just be in the right position to make plays."
The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Cravens said he played strong-side linebacker at USC. He led the Trojans with 86 tackles and 5 ½ sacks and also had two interceptions last season.
Fuller joins a suddenly crowded secondary a week after the Redskins signed cornerback Josh Norman to a five-year deal. With Chris Culliver coming off a knee injury, the 5-11, 187-pound Fuller adds depth.
Defense was Washington's focus Friday after using its first-round pick Thursday on TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson, who gives quarterback Kirk Cousins a legitimate red-zone threat.
Cravens is the third consecutive linebacker the Redskins have taken in the second round, following Trent Murphy in 2014 and Preston Smith in 2015.
The Los Angeles native follows a recent NFL trend of hybrid linebacker/safeties. Shaq Thompson, drafted 25th by the Carolina Panthers last year, played in 14 games and started 10, making 50 tackles as a rookie.
Cravens compared himself to Arizona Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon, who's also a bit undersized.
"He plays a lot bigger than what he is, and he makes plays in open space and he's very physical when it comes to the point of attack," Cravens said. "I think I'll do a lot of the same things he does."
Cravens has a Redskins connection to defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who recruited him to USC out of high school but left before he arrived. Barry interrupted his vacation to witness Cravens' pro day, and the impression was strong enough to make him Washington's pick.
Fuller followed three brothers to Virginia Tech and now the NFL. Vincent played seven seasons as a safety, Corey is a backup wide receiver for the Detroit Lions and Kyle is a cornerback for the Chicago Bears.
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