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January 25, 2013

Three Former Hokies Hopeful For Draft

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While quarterback Logan Thomas' decision to return to Virginia Tech and new coaching changes stole most of the headlines last week, three former Hokies were busy participating in college showcases in preparation for the April draft.

Linebacker Bruce Taylor (NFLPA Collegiate Bowl) and wide receivers Corey Fuller and Marcus Davis (East-West Shrine Game) faced difficult transitions to new pro-schemes and ideas, but all will be better for it come draft day.

"The best thing was that every coach was in the NFL for 10+ years and some even won Super Bowls," Taylor told HokieHaven.com this week. "Every day, before meetings they have one of those guys come and talk to us about what to expect when you go into the league- and how to make a career out of it."

Taylor was undoubtedly the biggest standout of the bunch- and it wasn't because of his two tackles, one interception, and one pass defended in Saturday night's game. (Worthy to note that Taylor never had an interception at Virginia Tech.) During the week of practice to prepare for the game, the Hokies' defensive leader received rave reviews from Mark Dulgerian, an NFL scout for Optimum Scouting.

"The linebacker group showcased the best player at the NFLPA Bowl practices in Bruce Taylor," Dulgerian wrote in his blog. "Playing in a different scheme than what he was accustomed to at Virginia Tech, it took some time for Taylor to grasp fulltime strongside responsibilities, but he became acquainted quickly and it was obvious he was one of the more instinctive players on defense."

It should be no secret that Taylor's quick learning curve is thanks in part to defensive coordinator Bud Foster who has been known for getting his players ready to play at the next level. While he won't ever receive instruction from Foster again, Taylor won't soon forget how important the coach was for his progression.

"Just coming from his system- he has such a good rep - that's what helped me the most," Taylor said. "You have to learn a lot and be a smart guy in his scheme."

Taylor said he spoke with 16 NFL teams last week, definitely an encouraging sign for the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) native. He also said that while he has made minor adjustments in technique, he gained the most knowledge on how to handle himself in everyday life at the next level.

While Taylor was in Los Angeles for his game, wide receivers Fuller and Davis were both in St. Petersburg, Florida for the East-West Shrine Game. Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko said Davis was likely the highest-rated receiver heading into the week of practice, but ultimately struggled in team sessions. However, Davis showed his physical abilities in the game by creating two long pass-interference penalties and a team very well may draft Davis because of those physical attributes. He had one catch for 16 yards.

As most Hokie fans would guess, Fuller was the one who impressed scouts the most during the week and had a strong showing in Saturday afternoon's contest. After catching two passes for a team-high 29 yards, analyst Mike Mayock offered his opinion on Fuller.

"He had a great week of practice, there's some upside there. I think he could sneak into that 4th-round area," Mayock said.

Regardless of their game performances, Fuller and Davis sponged an invaluable amount of knowledge to help prepare for the NFL.

"There was a little bit more competition and things were a little faster, but it was a great experience," Fuller told HokieHaven.com.

Fuller is currently down in Orlando training for April's draft, and mentioned that he spoke to some scouts, NFL coaches, and even some general managers. They all were able to give the track-star-turned-wide-receiver a solid assessment as well as things to work on while he's in Florida.

"Everybody I spoke to said they like my speed and I can see the field well," Fuller said. "They want to see me come out of my breaks a little better, especially in the dig and slant routes. I'll just keep working to improve."

It's quite an interesting scenario for the three former Hokies; all three could get drafted, or all three could be free-agents. Either way, it certainly wouldn't be surprising if Taylor, Fuller, and Davis all have impacts on Sunday's in 2013.


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