The Chicago Bears used the 14th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft's first round to select Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.
Fuller measured in the Combine at 6'0", 190 pounds, with 32 7/8" arms; he has very nice length for a cornerback. He also ran a solid 4.49 40-yard dash, while showing off a 38.5" vertical jump, and a 128" broad jump.
Here's a scouting report on the strengths and weaknesses of Fuller from his Combine page on NFL.Com:
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.And their summary of Fuller as a draft prospect:
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.And NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock's take on Fuller (quote found on that same page):
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Talk bout DNA. His older brother Vincent played in the NFL. He other older brother Corey plays for the Lions. He played with his younger brother Kendall, who was a freshman at Virginia Tech (in 2013). I thought he was most NFL-ready cornerback I saw on tape. He doesn't move as fast as Justin Gilbert. In run support, he reminds me of (Kansas City Chiefs cornerback) Brandon Flowers when he came out of Virginia Tech. Fuller can play nickel corner on Day 1." -- Mike Mayock
Last week, I tweeted the following about Fuller, after really digging into his game footage for the first time on YouTube:
Been watching a lot of the Kyle Fuller YouTubes... very impressed.
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) May 3, 2014
I've spent an embarrassing amount of hours watching draft prospect videos online in the last few months, and honestly, not a single guy surprised me more than Fuller did.
That's not to say I wasn't aware Fuller was a first-round prospect or anything like that, but man... he really jumps out at you in so many ways. He's just a really good all-around football player. He is very impressive in pass coverage (example); he is a very good tackler for a cornerback and solid in run support (example); he is a very good player on special teams (example).
Many Bears fans wanted the team to select Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but the St. Louis Rams scooped him up at No. 13, right before the Bears had a chance. Many Bears fans wanted the team to select a safety, such as Alabama's HaHa Clinton-Dix or Louisville's Calvin Pryor, but the team passed on those players in favor of Fuller.
While safety was a bigger perceived immediate need for the Bears, I'm glad that general manager Phil Emery didn't let that prevent him from taking the player he liked most. Getting an impact player and a guy that you believe is going to be a key contributor for your team for a long time is more important than filling a short-term need with a player you think less of.
And even with the "need" thinking in mind, cornerback was going to be a major long-term need with the 33-year-old Charles Tillman likely around for only a year or two anyway. Not to mention Tim Jennings is already 30 himself.
An infusion of youth was needed at cornerback, and finding a Tillman replacement was going to likely be needed by next year anyway. Now Fuller will get to learn from these quality, veteran cornerbacks, and still be on the field frequently as a nickel back likely (and keep in mind that Tillman was frequently banged-up next year so Fuller may get starts on the outside too).
So, I'm a big fan of the Fuller pick.
Let's go to the links for more on the pick, as well as some links looking ahead to day two of the draft for the Bears...
Kyle Fuller-Related Links
Kyle Fuller Press Conference Video- Some highlights of Fuller's introductory press conference on Friday at Halas Hall. (ChicagoBears.Com)
Photos Of Kyle Fuller's First Day At Halas Hall (ChicagoBears.Com)
Fuller: "I Fit In Very Well." (Dan Wiederer; Chicago Tribune)
How Kyle Fuller Fits With The Chicago Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)
Kyle Fuller Is Type Of Player Phil Emery Prizes (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)
Bears Assign Kyle Fuller His Jersey Number- No. 23... and predictably the meatballs are quite angry about it. (Rich Campbell; Chicago Tribune)
Quick Thoughts On The Decision To Draft Kyle Fuller (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)
Meet Kyle Fuller, Charles Tillman's Replacement (Adam Hoge; 670 The Score)
Case Closed: Tillman Is Not Moving To Safety- Phil Emery made it very clear on Friday at Halas Hall that Charles Tillman will not be moving to safety. So we can stop with that topic. (Adam Hoge; 670 The Score)
Kyle Fuller Is Not A Safety- Must-read stuff here from Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (Lester A. Wiltfong Jr; Windy City Gridiron)
GM Confident Fuller Right Pick For New 'D' (Jon Greenberg; ESPN Chicago)
Reaction To Fuller Pick Mostly Positive (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)
Kyle Fuller's The Future, But He'll Play Now (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)
More On Bears' Draftee Kyle Fuller (Jay; Bleacher Nation)
Bears Fans Have Reason For Optimism (Barry Rozner; Daily Herald)
Ten Facts To Know: Bears Draftee Kyle Fuller (Patrick Finley; Chicago Sun-Times)
Bears' Draft Day Two Previewing
Chicago Bears Day 2 2014 NFL Draft Primer (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)
5 Positions Bears Could Draft In The Second Day Of NFL Draft (James Neveau; Grizzly Detail)
Which Position Should The Bears Address In Round? (Sam Householder; Windy City Gridiron)
Bears Go For Two In Round 2: Be Versatile (John Vassar; Bear Goggles On)
Top Available Round 2 Defensive Prospects- Dan Durkin with a nice look at defensive prospects that may intrigue the Bears on Friday night. (Dan Durkin; 670 The Score)
Best Players Available After Round 1 (Dan Kadar; Mocking The Draft)
Timmy Jernigan Could Be There For Bears In Round 2- Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan was a popular mock draft choice for the Bears at No. 14 for a while, but he may be there for the Bears in the second round. And part of that is of course because he failed a drug test at the Combine, but in the second round, his talent at a position of need for the Bears may be too good to pass up. (Patrick Finley; Chicago Sun-Times)
Day 2 Prediction: Go For DT, Then Safety (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)
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