Just as the 2012 football season dragged on for many Hokie fans, it seemed that this year’s NFL Draft did the same.
Only two Hokies were selected, both in the sixth round. Corey Fuller went to the Detroit Lions with the third pick of the sixth round, 171st overall. His offensive teammate, Vinston Painter, was selected soon after, going 173rd overall to the Denver Broncos.
The sixth round splash was all the noise that Virginia Tech made in the 2013 NFL Draft. The two-person draft class was the smallest for the Hokies since 2009, when Victor “Macho” Harris was the sole Hokie drafted. This year’s draft is only the third time since 2000 that two or fewer Tech players have been selected, the others being 2009 and 2003, when two players were selected.
Corey Fuller becomes the second Fuller brother to be drafted, following in the footsteps of his older brother Vincent, a safety for the Hokies from 2001-2004, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Tennessee Titans.
Corey started his collegiate athletic career as a member of the track team at Kansas, and spent two years there competing in sprints, the triple jump and the high jump.
After transferring to Tech and sitting out the 2010 season, Fuller played only 57 snaps on offense in 2011. He was stuck on the depth chart behind Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, who finished first and second respectively in career receptions and receiving yards in school history.
But as a senior, Fuller started six games and caught 43 passes for 815 yards and six touchdowns.
His performance against Florida State, when he caught seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, garnered some attention by scouts at the next level.
After a strong Shrine Game and good combine, Fuller found himself as a projected mid-to-late round pick. The Lions, with their love of passing and stretching the field,will give Fuller’s speed and size a chance to make the roster, potentially securing some playing time this season.
Vinston Painter’s college career didn’t play out how many expected. A heralded recruit from Maury High School in Norfolk, Va., Painter was ranked as high as the third best prospect in Virginia and the 80th best player in the country.
After redshirting his freshman year, he slowly found his way on the field, but wasn’t quite the dominant starter that fans expected. As a senior, Painter was named the starting right tackle in 2012, and had a great season on the end of the line.
At 6-6 and 309 pounds, Painter made his mark at the combine, where he impressed scouts with 32 reps on the bench press and a 4.95 40-yard dash time.
With terrific strength and athleticism, Painter could find a way on the roster for the Broncos as a backup guard or tackle. He’ll have a great player to learn from in Broncos tackle Ryan Clady, another 6-6 athlete who has been selected to the Pro Bowl three
Though they didn’t get drafted, several other Hokies eligible for the draft agreed to free agent deals. Marcus Davis signed with the Giants, Nick Becton with the Chargers and Bruce Taylor with the Bengals. Also, Alonzo Tweedy has agreed with the Giants, and Antoine Hopkins joined the Pittsburgh Steelers.