NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Kyle Fuller of the Virginia Tech Hokies poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #14 overall by the Chicago Bears during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
With the Chicago Bears’ training camp in Bourbonnais looming just around the corner, Grizzly Detail is taking a look at some of the new players donning jerseys this season, and today we switch back to the defensive side of the ball to examine what the team will hope to get out of rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Fuller is a versatile player who was a jack of all trades for the Virginia Tech Hokies in his four seasons at the school, playing numerous positions and solidifying their defense in the process. In his collegiate career, the Bears’ first round draft pick had 129 solo tackles, 44 assisted tackles, four and a half sacks, and six interceptions. He also defended 32 passes and forced four fumbles.
It was that ability that ended up selling the Bears on drafting Fuller ahead of other potential picks like Darqueze Dennard and Ha Ha Clinton Dix in the first round of the 2014 draft.
What the Bears Hope He Will Bring:
If there is one thing that Marc Trestman and the team’s front office staff appreciate, it’s versatility. Corey Wootton is a great example of that, as he spent time last season at defensive end and tackle as injuries ravaged the line. Fuller is listed as a cornerback, but he also spent some time at safety for the Hokies, and played a bit of linebacker as well. The Bears will primarily use him as a nickel corner during his rookie season with Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings retaining their starting roles, but Fuller could fill in at safety in a pinch.
After some initial skepticism, we’ve come around on the idea of taking Fuller over the more polished Dennard with the 14th pick. Phil Emery has had an up and down track record so far in his time as GM of the Bears with his first round picks, striking out on Shea McClellin (although a resurgence at linebacker this season could force us to retract that statement) while striking gold on Kyle Long. Fuller has all the makings of another guy who could either be really good or struggle to adjust to the NFL game, but we’re optimistic that he’ll fall into the former category.
What we’re most excited about with Fuller is his ability to not only close on ball-carriers when receivers make catches in space, but also whether or not Mel Tucker will use him as a blitzer off the line of scrimmage. Fuller showed some serious ability in that department at Virginia Tech, and even though the Bears are going to be much improved on their defensive line this season, adding in pressure from other areas of the field will be a big bonus as well.