There was a lot of buzz about who the top cornerback prospect was entering the 2014 NFL Draft. Names like Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard were normally on the top of most lists. However, after the Cleveland Browns drafted Gilbert at No. 8, the Chicago Bears made Kyle Fuller the second cornerback to come off the board when the team selected him with the No. 14 overall pick.
Throughout his college career, Fuller was very productive at Virginia Tech. He started as a true freshman in 2010 and never relinquished his spot. Fuller intercepted six passes in his college career and was also involved in 32 pass breakups.
While Fuller was a solid cover corner with excellent ball skills in college, what may have drawn him to the Bears was his ability to tackle efficiently both in run support and in the open field. Of his 173 total tackles, 23.5 of them were recorded as a loss of yards and 4.5 of those were quarterback sacks. Fuller also forced four fumbles throughout his college career. These statistics resemble that of current Bears All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman.
On top of being an efficient player on the football field, Fuller has a notable list of impressive intangibles. He was voted a permanent team captain as a result of his character, leadership qualities and desirable work ethic. Fuller is considered to be a great teammate and a quiet leader who leads by example.
With Tillman and Tim Jennings beginning to age, the Bears looked to add a younger player to a weakening defense and secondary. Fuller will compete with Tillman, Jennings and Kelvin Hayden for playing time this season. With noticeable talent, regardless of age, in the Bears’ secondary, Fuller will likely begin his career in a rotational role. However, Tillman has seen his health begin to decline so Fuller could become a starter sooner rather than later.
At OTAs, it has been reported that Jennings and the Bears coaching staff are considering moving him to a slot corner role. This would allow Fuller to step in as a starter on the outside. The Bears have been impressed with Fuller’s versatility in the secondary thus far, making it a lot more likely that Fuller is a full-time starter early on in the 2014 season.
It appears as though the Bears acquired a pretty good scheme fit and exceptional player in Fuller. While his impact may not be notable in 2014, one should expect Fuller to be integral part of the Bears’ secondary for years to come.