2014 NFL Draft: With the No. 14 Overall Pick, the Chicago Bears Select Kyle Fuller

2014 NFL Draft: With the No. 14 Overall Pick, the Chicago Bears Select Kyle Fuller

The Bears needed help on defense and they got just that in Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller.

Fuller, a four-year starter for the Hokies, the 6-0, 190 pound defensive back was selected by the Bears with the No. 14 selection in the first round of Thursday night’s draft at Radio City Music Hall.

The 21-year-old is clearly stepping into a nice situation in Chicago with veterans Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings penciled in as starters. Tillman re-signed on a one-year deal this off-season, while Jennings came to terms on a long-term deal. Fuller is the starting cornerback of the near future in the Windy City.

Fuller appeared in 48 games, starting 42, which included 32 at cornerback. He also took the field as a nickelback/whip linebacker and at safety. He only appeared in nine games in his senior season after suffering a sports hernia which forced him to go under surgery in late November.

In those four seasons at Virginia Tech, Fuller added 173 tackles, 28 pass breakups, four interceptions, 23.5 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles.

He recorded a team-high 14.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks in his sophomore campaign and a career-best 10 pass deflections in 2013.

Fuller needs to hit the weight room and gain muscle, but he plays bigger than his frame and has the ability to excel in man or zone packages.

Bears general manager Phil Emery said after the pick on 87.7 FM Chicago that the team see’s Fuller as a corner. Emery also pointed out Fuller’s ability in press-man, his big hands and willingness to be physical. He sure sounds like Tillman 2.0 to me.

Despite Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, the two top safeties were still on the board, the Bears went with Fuller. Clinton-Dix was selected by Green Bay and Pryor and was drafted by the New York Jets.

“We’ve looked at every corner that has length as a possible safety,” Emery said back in February at the NFL Combine. “We’ve looked at him as a scouting staff, and I reassigned them again to go look at that equation.”

It seems like the Bears loved Fuller from the start and you can’t really blame them. The kid has tons of upside. He should be able to learn plenty from Tillman and Jennings this upcoming season.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was taken by the St. Louis Rams at No. 13, only one pick before the Bears were on the clock. Donald would have been a steal as he would have slid into a role as a pure three-technique defensive tackle.

Fuller ran a solid 4.49 40-yard dash and recorded a 38.5 inch vertical leap, but only made it through 12 reps on the bench press. Like mentioned above he needs to develop his upper body.

“Tillman and Jennings are two pro bowl corners,” Fuller said on The Game 87.7 FM. “I’m looking forward to learning from those guys.”

He finished as the top performer at the NFL Combine in the broad jump with 128 inches. Fuller has the knack to make a play either helping in run defense or in zone coverage. His older brother Vincent played in the NFL, while his other brother Corey is currently on the Lions.

“This is one tough football player. This is a player with length, skill, versatility,” Emery said. “We expect him to contribute his 1st year. Overtime we expect him to be a starter on the outside.”

Emery also said that three of his original six players on their draft board were there at No.14, per Jordan Bernfield of 87.7 FM The Game Chicago.

Breakdown of Fuller’s game according to NFL.com is below.

STRENGTHS

Good size and balance. Plays faster than he times thanks to keen instincts, anticipation and route recognition. Zone aware with good eyes, ball reactions and hands to intercept. Outstanding leaping ability. Willing run supporter. Has special-teams experience, including as a gunner and jammer. Tough and durable — logged 42 career starts. Team captain who understands what it means to be a pro. Was a 21-year-old senior.

WEAKNESSES

Could stand to get stronger — managed just 12 benchpress reps at the Combine. Man-cover limitations. Lacks twitch for the position. Has a choppy pedal and some tightness in transition. Gives up separation at the break point. Average production on the ball. Shows some stiffness when required to break down and tackle in space. Slips off some tackles. Squats on routes and is susceptible to double moves.

BOTTOM LINE

Narrow-framed, confident, competitive off-man/zone corner with nice length, field speed and awareness. Is capable of contributing early on special teams and in sub packages.

Overall, Fuller is a very solid addition as he not only provides depth and the future at corner, but endless amounts of versatility. That versatility is something Emery loves hence the Shea McClellin and Kyle Long selections the past two years in the first round.

The Bears still have six more picks in the 2014 draft: in the second round (No. 51), third round (No. 82), fourth round (No. 117), the fifth round (No. 156), and two in the sixth round (Nos. 183 and 191).

Needs on Bears draft board: Defensive tackle, defensive back, inside linebacker, running back, tight end, quarterback.

Here is the rest of the full mock draft I wrote up earlier Thursday that breaks down all seven Bears picks, 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Bears Edition.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button to get all the latest Bears Backer articles sent to your inbox.

Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.

Leave a comment