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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Chris Culliver

| | College: South Carolina
 
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Overview

A 2009 second-team All-SEC free safety, Culliver made a successful transition to cornerback, starting the first seven games of the 2010 season before a torn pectoral muscle ended his senior season.

Scouts are confident that the athletic Culliver can make the jump to the NFL. He signed with South Carolina as a wide receiver and even started one game (Tennessee, 2007) early in his career on offense. His next 24 starts came at free safety for the Gamecocks, and he averaged 61 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 pass breakups per season as a defensive back.

Culliver's lanky frame and good speed make him an intriguing candidate as a press corner or potential option to be moved back to free safety. Either way, his versatility and return skills (South Carolina's career leader with 2,476 kick return yards) should result in a mid round selection, if he's able to reassure teams of his health.

Analysis

Positives: Showed good instincts as a free safety. While aggressive, Culliver was rarely out of position and showed the discipline to stay home on trick plays and misdirection. Reads the eyes of the quarterback and gets a good break on the ball. Normal acceleration with a late burst to close. Quick, active hands in press coverage. Understands zone concepts and due to his experience at free safety and cornerback, understands the role of each member of the secondary. Has quick feet to stop, pivot and accelerate quickly. Competes for the jump ball well, showing an explosive vertical and good timing. Shows a late burst to close. Has natural return skills. Prefers to cut the legs out from under the ball-carrier for his tackles, but is more than willing to lower his pads and lead with the shoulder.

Negatives: Flashes good hands for the press, but gets off-balance and can allow the receiver too easy of a release. Loses a step as he turns to run. A bit grabby with his hands in man coverage. Backpedal is high and choppy. Generally a reliable open-field tackler, but can get out of control in his pursuit and leave cutback lanes. Questionable ball skills despite being a returner and former receiver. Has only intercepted three of 14 passes broken up over his career, including zero of his 11 opportunities the past two years.

2010 Season

Started seven of first eight games this season … Suffered season-ending injury (torn pectoral) vs. Tennessee … Finished career as South Carolina's all-time leader in kickoff returns (106) and kick return yardage (2,476) … Third in SEC history in kick returns and kick return yards … Led team with season-high seven tackles at Kentucky … Preseason All-SEC selection by the coaches, Phil Steele and Athlon.

2009 Season

Second-team All-SEC pick by the AP and a third-team selection by Phil Steele as a junior free safety … started 12 games … logged 62 tackles, the team's third-highest total … also returned 26 kickoffs for 585 yards, an average of 22.5 yards per return … had four kick returns for 122 yards, including a 57-yard burst at Georgia … also logged six tackles, including five solo stops, and recovered a fumble in that contest … broke the school record for career kickoff returns against FAU … had nine tackles in the win over Ole Miss … returned three kicks for 130 yards in the win over Kentucky, breaking Dick Harris' school record for kick return yards in a career in the process.

Had returns of 61 and 49 yards in that contest … tied for the game-high with 11 tackles against Alabama … recorded a key sack late in the Vanderbilt game to preserve the victory … injured his shoulder in the pregame warmups at Tennessee and did not make the trip to Arkansas … returned to the starting lineup against Florida and responded with five tackles including a sack.

2008 Season

Gamecocks' starting free safety and kick returner … started 12 games … logged 60 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss … credited with three interceptions, three pass break ups and forced two fumbles … forced a key fumble at Ole Miss in the red zone that Emanuel Cook returned 52 yards … had six tackles, including 1.0 tackle for loss, and notched his first two career interceptions in the win at Kentucky … his second interception came in the game's final minute, sealing the win … had a season-high nine tackles against LSU … tied for the team lead with six tackles in the win over Tennessee, including a five-yard sack … had seven tackles including a tackle for loss against Arkansas.

Forced a fumble against Clemson … had seven tackles and his third interception of the season in the Outback Bowl against Iowa … ranked fourth in the SEC in kick returns, averaging 24.1 yards per return on 34 returns (821 total yards) … had a career-long 67 yard kickoff return in the win over Tennessee … logged a 50-yarder against Vanderbilt and a 41-yard return against Arkansas … named the Most Improved Safety during the spring.

2007 Season

Named to the All-SEC Freshman team as a kick returner by the Sporting News … returned 34 kicks for 809 yards as a true freshman … his 23.8-yard return average ranked eighth in the SEC … his 809 kick return yards ranked second in school history, behind only the 880 yards logged by Dick Harris in 1970 … had a trio of 44-yard kickoff returns, once at LSU, another against Mississippi State and a third at Arkansas … also played wide receiver … did not catch a pass, but did log five carries for 31 yards … 21 of those yards came on two carries against Georgia … sprained his left ankle in the win at Georgia and was held out of the South Carolina State game … made his first and only start at wide receiver against Tennessee.

High School

Highly sought after athlete who is expected to play wide receiver for the Gamecocks … although he started only a handful of games on offense, Culliver had 1,500 all-purpose yards and returned four kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns … accounted for ov

 
Latest News
11/02/2010 - Against the SEC's best passing offense in Arkansas, South Carolina ??? which dropped a spot in the AP poll to No. 18 ??? will be without one of its starting defensive backs. Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday that senior corner Chris Culliver could be out for the season after injuring his shoulder in Saturday's 38-24 win over Tennessee. The injury was first described as a right bicep strain by the school's sports information department after the game, but Spurrier wouldn't go into it Sunday. "Our team doctors, trainers can get into details about what that is, but he's not going to be available this week," Spurrier said. When asked if the injury could sideline him for the rest of the year, Spurrier replied, "Yeah, I think it's that serious. It's a pretty serious injury from what I hear." Culliver was moved from safety to corner during the offseason and has struggled at times picking up the new position. He gave up a couple of long passes against the Vols. Culliver hasn't intercepted a pass this year and after becoming USC's all-time leading kick returner, he's been pulled off special teams. - Brad Senkiw, Anderson Independent Mail

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