Titans’ General Manager Jon Robinson has a knack for second round draft picks. Since Robinson arrived in Tennessee in 2016, the Titans have possessed six picks in the second round of the NFL Draft. With those six picks, Robinson has selected players such as Derrick Henry, Harold Landry, and A.J. Brown. He has missed on two occasions with Kevin Dodd and Austin Johnson, both players were drafted along with Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Kristian Fulton, Robinson’s most recent second rounder, appears to be on a rising trajectory as his contributions continue to mount with each week that he suits up for the Titans. Fulton was drafted out of LSU, but many experts considered the defensive back to have first round ability, but it was his performance off of the field which raised concerns with a handful of teams around the NFL.

After swiping his first career interception in the team’s Week Two win over the Jaguars, Fulton made another key defensive play on Sunday in the Titans’ matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. With just under five minutes remaining in the game and the Titans trailing Minnesota by the score of 30-28, Fulton burst through the middle of the Vikings’ offensive line sacking quarterback Kirk Cousins for a seven-yard loss.

The Titans’ typical defensive play caller, Shane Bowen, was unable to make the trip to Minnesota due to COVID-19 protocol leaving head coach Mike Vrabel in charge of the defense.

For most of the afternoon, the Vikings’ offense gashed Vrabel’s defense. Dalvin Cook galloped for 181 yards on 22 carries while the Vikings’ rookie receiver, Justin Jefferson, broke out for 175 yards on seven catches, including a 71-yard touchdown after leaving Jonathan Joseph in the dust.

But when the Titans absolutely had to have a stop, Fulton played a big role in getting the defense off the field. Fulton’s blitz looked eerily similar to a call former defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, would dial up with Logan Ryan, who, as fate would have it, wore No. 26 prior to Fulton’s arrival.

The Titans have been able to rattle off three straight wins to start the season without starting cornerback Adoree Jackson. Jackson was placed on Injured Reserve, but is eligible to return as early as Sunday’s duel with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With Ryan’s departure coupled with Jackson’s absence, Fulton has been placed in vital defensive situations assuming a large load of responsibility only three weeks into his rookie campaign.

Whether Jackson will be healthy enough to go on Sunday appears to be in question, but having a young corner like Fulton, who continues to pop up in big play situations as a rookie, has to be an encouraging sign for Robinson and Vrabel.

 

Featured image courtesy of Donald Page/Tennessee Titans


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