Hard-nosed and tough corner that is comfortable playing in press coverage. Shows ability to get the jam against bigger wideouts and knock guys off their routes. Shows good feet and quickness to match up in man or zone coverage. Does a nice job covering space when working in zone, and does a good job keeping things in front of him. Does a nice job turning and locating the ball on the deep pass or the fade, and will get position and make a play on the jump ball. Has good burst upfield when working as a blitzer or defending the run on the edge. Shows some closing burst after the catch to prevent YAC. Comes up and cuts the legs of the ballcarrier on the edge and capable of making the open field tackle.
Lacks size and is shows too often when matched up against bigger wideouts. Doesn't have ideal hips and burst to overcome his lack of size. Can't consistently drive on the underneath throws and will miss stops after the catch because of it. Gives up too much cushion at times. Will take bad angle in run support. Too often gets engulfed at the point of attack when defending the run. Struggles to get off blocks downfield and at the point of attack. Doesn't consistently break down to make stops and will whiff on some stops. Is an undersized tackler that will struggle to wrap up and drag down bigger ballcarriers.
Fenelus plays bigger than his size, and you'll see times where he is able to match up with bigger wideouts because of his toughness and physical style of his play. But just as much if not more, you'll see him struggle against bigger wideouts. The guys that tend to give him fits are the better big guys that know how to use their size to be effective. He's the type of guy that if he was 2 inches taller, it could completely change your outlook on his pro potential. He'll be able to overcome his height moreso than your typical 5-8 corner, but it's still going to be an issue for him. He timed a 4.44 at his pro day, on what was likely to be a fast track.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/1) vs. UNLV: 2 targets, 0 rec., 0 yds, 1 PD; 1 missed tackle
(10/1) vs. Nebraska: 5 tgt., 2 rec., 13 yds (6.5 avg), 3 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 INT; 1 missed tackle
(12/3) vs. Michigan St: 3 tgt., 3 rec., 67 yds (22.3 avg), 47 YAC, 1 TD; 1 key blocked
(1/2) vs. Oregon: 2 tgt., 2 rec., 14 yds (7.0 avg), 4 YAC, 0 TDs
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 46 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 4 INTs, 5 PDs, 0 FF, 0 FR
2008: 12/0-13-0.0-0-0-2-0; 4 KOR-21.5 avg-0 TD
Fenelus can play in the NFL, but he'll be exposed from time to time. He'll likely be able to land a backup position. He does well in press coverage, although it remains to be seen how well he'll do against the bigger and better wideouts in the NFL. Few college receivers can handle press. But a big physical wideout like B.J. Cunningham didn't really have any issues with beating Fenelus off the line, so you would think that your typical starting NFL receiver won't have much issue as well. He's more of a zone corner than a man cover guy. While he is functional in man because he has pretty decent footwork and technique, he doesn't have the sort of size, hips, or burst to really be more than average there at the next level. He has the same size and frame of Jim Leonhard when he was at Wisconsin, and he has been used at times as a centerfielder at safety. His ability to play zone and the fact that he's probably a better run defender than most 5-8 corners means that there is the potential that he could make a transition to safety. He has good strength and has played heavier in the past (in the 195-pound range). He's not going to be a starter there, but I think he could bulk up and be a functional reserve that can be a decent stopgap down the road. But more than likely, he'll push for time as a nickel corner. He's not really a playmaker, and while I think he could polish up his technique and the like to make himself into a capable No. 3, I'm not sure I see any teams really sticking with him long-term. I think he could be compared to a poor man's Terrence McGee, but I don't think he has the ball skills that McGee has. But I do think if he polishes his game, he can definitely carve out a niche as a role player. He definitely can add depth to a team early on, play on special teams and if he gets a couple of years to develop you could start to see him rise up the depth chart. But I don't see him as anything more than a competent No. 3 guy for most teams, and he'll likely have to play in a scheme that plays a lot of zone to reach his full potential.
Fenelus has some of the same traits as Brent Grimes, in that you think that down the road he'll be a lot better pro player than people would think at first glance. But again, I don't think he's quite the athlete or ballhawk that Grimes is, so there is probably a firmer ceiling to his potential as a reserve rather than a starter. And he's not the ideal fit for a Mike Nolan scheme that might feature a bit more press coverage, and tends to prefer bigger corners that can play on an island. That's not really Fenelus game. He can add depth in Atlanta, push a guy like Walls for the No. 5 spot and potentially win it. And then be developed from there and in a year or two, he can start to move up the depth chart and push for time as the nickel corner down the road. He could eventually win it and be a functional, albeit probably not good player in that role. He doesn't excel anywhere, but he does most things fairly well and seems to have the toughness and work ethic to think he'll be a better player 3+ years from now than he is today.
Fenelus is probably a career backup, and thus taking him before the fifth round is probably a bit of a reach. Although it wouldn't surprise me if four years from now, he's one of the few Day Three corners still in the league, and probably over some guys that went a few rounds ahead of him. But he would make a nice target in the sixth round range.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Man Coverage: 6.0
Zone Coverage: 7.0
Ball Skills: 6.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.