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VIDEO: Brandon Marshall Signs 3-Year Contract Extension On 'The View'- Our post on Brandon Marshall's contract extension, including video of his announcement and signing of the contract live on 'The View'.

Around The Web

With New Deal, Marshall Intent On Retiring A Bear- Brandon Marshall will be around at least four more years in a Chicago Bears uniform, and maybe even more than that in his mind.

“They’re going to have to rip the jersey off of my back,” Marshall said. “Coming in, I always said I wanted to play 14 years. That was my goal. But maybe (I get to) 36 (years old). Who knows? ... Maybe with modern medicine and all this new technology, I can potentially play (for 20 years). But I’ve had three hip surgeries. I’m just asking for six more.” (Dan Wiederer; Chicago Tribune)

Bears Smart To Lock Up Brandon Marshall, But Move Is Not Without Risk- The Marshall contract was pretty much a no-brainer for Phil Emery to get done, but that doesn't mean there aren't risks with the signing as well. (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

Marshall Extension The Ultimate Risk-Reward For Emery And The Bears (Mike Burzawa; Bear Goggles On)

Bears Needed To Bring Back Rock On Offense- Michael C. Wright writes why the Bears had no choice but to lock up Marshall. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Marshall Impressed With Bears' Offseason- Marshall, like most of us, has been very impressed with what the moves Phil Emery has made this offseason.

"Phil Emery and the guys upstairs have done an amazing job, not just this year, but also last year," Marshall said Tuesday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "What they've done on the offensive side and how they revamped the offensive line in one draft and one free agency [is impressive]. Now they are doing the same on the defensive side." (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Cutler, Marshall Deals Lock In Changing 'Face' Of Franchise- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Brandon Marshall Talks Career Goals- "I'm trying to pass Cris Carter in everything. I don't think I have it in me to go for Jerry [Rice]. That's 20 years I would have to play. Maybe with modern medicine and all this new technology, I could potentially play that long, but I've had three hip surgeries. I'm just asking for six more [years in the league]." (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Brandon Marshall Fine Continuing NFL's Disgraceful Treatment Of Mental Illness- Must-read piece here from Jeff Hughes. (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)

Alshon Jeffery Is On Deck For A Big Deal- Alshon Jeffery is eligible for a new contract after the 2014 season, and is set to be a free-agent after the 2015 season. It's hard to see any chance the Bears let their young star receiver get away, but they're likely going to have pay him a pretty hefty contract. (Mike Florio; Pro Football Talk)

Super Bowl Window Open Now For Bears (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Early Projections For The Bears' Final 53-Man Roster- Matt Eurich projects the Bears' 53-man roster. The only player (as he and I already talked about) that I think should be on these projections at the moment that isn't, is kick returner Chris Williams. Phil Emery spoke highly of Williams on the radio on Monday. (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

Projected Chicago Bears 2014 Starters- (Gregg Rosenthal; NFL.Com)

What Offseason Moves Are Next For The Bears With The Draft Complete- (Ross Read; Bleacher Report)

'More Physical' Rookie Camp Leaves Bears Upbeat- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Bears Sign Rookies Perry, Trice- The Bears signed Louisville running back Senorise Perry and North Texas safety Marcus Trice after the two players impressed on a tryout basis at rookie minicamp. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Emery: Greater Value At CB Over S- One of the many reasons the Bears liked cornerback Kyle Fuller over safeties such as Calvin Pryor and HaHa Clinton-Dix was the greater value cornerbacks have in the NFL over safeties.

“You can’t lose sight that as a league, the corner position is more valued,” Emery said. “There was a number of top safety contracts recently signed: Jairus Byrd, Earl Thomas, Donte Whitner and T.J. Ward. Look at those contracts versus the top cornerback contracts recently signed: Richard Sherman, Aqib Talib, Sam Shields and Joe Haden. On the average, those deals for cornerbacks are much higher, starting on average per year from $10 million to $14 million. The range for safeties is about $7 million to $10 million on the very top end. 

"Cornerbacks have always been more valued than safeties, so you always have to look at the value of the position. You also have to look at who you play and at the league as a whole. A good portion of the time your third cornerback is a starter. There were times last year the nickel cornerback played 70 to 80 percent of the snaps. We look at the nickel as a versatile player that can play inside, outside and cover tight ends, running backs and wideouts. We definitely knew we would get the rep value when we took Kyle Fuller. For us, that was the best player for the Bears.” (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Fales To Push For No. 2 Job, Eventually- (Larry Mayer; Chicago Bears.Com)

Jordan Palmer First In Line As Bears' Backup QB- Marc Trestman told Jordan Palmer that the quarterback will have the first shot up (ahead of rookie David Fales) at being Jay Cutler's backup(Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Jordan Lynch Embraces Change To Running Back. Will He Make Bears Roster?- Jordan Lynch is not an NFL quarterback, and he immediately accepted that, signing as a running back with the Bears as an undrafted free agent right after the draft ended on Saturday. You have to certainly respect that after players like Tim Tebow have been in denial about their (lack of) abilities as an NFL quarterback, and rejected opportunities to try to make NFL rosters at other positions.  (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)

Pass-Protection Next Thing On Jordan Lynch's To-Learn List- Pass-protection is one of the most important areas Jordan Lynch will have to impress at in order to make the Bears' 53-man roster.  (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Ka'Deem Carey Poised To Be Matt Forte's Understudy With Bears- (Patrick Finley; Chicago Sun-Times)

Rookie Punter Shows Strong Leg- Pat O'Donnell was booming punts at rookie minicamp. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Christian Jones Fueled By Draft Snub- While Jordan Lynch gets most of the talk for the Bears' 2014 undrafted free agent class, Christian Jones is probably the top prospect of the group. The Florida State linebacker was projected to be a second or third-round pick before failing a drug test at the Combine. And he's ready to show teams that they made a mistake in not selecting him in the draft. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

DeCamillis: Mannelly's Future Unknown- Patrick Mannelly, 39, has been a Chicago Bear more than any player in franchise history. But, following hip surgery (and of course with his age), the perennial long snapper and perennial Bears special teams captain isn't sure if he wants to play in 2014. (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Aaron Kromer's Role Expanding In 2014 (Sam Householder; Windy City Gridiron)

Bears LB Coach Reggie Herring Tackles Problem At Position (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Yes, Of Course Phil Emery Uses Lil Wayne To Inspire His Staff- Hahahahaha, Phil. (670 The Score)

Audio: Phil Emery On With 'Mully & Hanley' (670 The Score)

Audio: Phil Emery On With 'Carmen & Jurko (ESPN Radio 1000)

Video Of The Day

Highlights of the Bears' spectacular wide receiving duo that is together for at least two more years (and likely at least four, assuming No. 17 signs an extension eventually), Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery:


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By now, you're likely aware of the three-year, $30 million contract extension signed by Brandon Marshall on Monday, which will keep the star 30-year-old wide receiver in a Chicago Bears uniform through 2018. The contract includes $23 million guaranteed.

Well, Marshall actually first (surprisingly) announced and signed the deal live on The View on Monday afternoon, and also announced he was making a $1 million pledge to the mental health community.

Check it out (I recommend the whole video but skip to the 4:15 mark if you just want to see the contract announcement):


Awesome stuff from No. 15.

As for my reaction to the contract, it's 12:45 AM here in Colorado and frankly I'm too tired to do a big write-up on it right now, so I'll just share my tweets from earlier on the topic:




To summarize: It was an absolute no-brainer of a deal for Bears general manager Phil Emery to make happen. It was never really a matter of -if- Marshall would sign a contract extension, but -when-. Both sides had every reason to make it happen and Marshall made it clear in the last few months that a deal would likely get done before he had a chance to reach free agency. But, it's definitely nice to finally get that out of the way, and nice to know that the key pieces to the Bears' explosive offense will be around for a while.

We'll have more reaction to Marshall's contract in a link dump later on in the day.

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Just five days after the 2014 NFL Draft ended, the Chicago Bears have their entire draft class signed.

The Bears signed Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton (third-round pick) to a four-deal on Thursday, making them the first NFL team to have their full 2014 draft class under contract.


Contracts for NFL draft picks are preset by draft position these days, so it shouldn't be difficult to get the contracts done, and Bears cap guru Cliff Stein didn't want to waste any time. The team signed first-round pick Kyle Fuller to a four-deal on Wednesday, leaving Sutton as the only remaining unsigned pick, and they took care of Sutton's deal quickly the next morning.

You can read much more about Will Sutton (including watch video highlights) here. Oh, and Phil Emery appeared on ESPN Radio 1000 on Thursday, reiterating that the team would like Sutton at 285-295 pounds, the weight he was dominant at with 13.5 sacks as a Junior at Arizona State.

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The Chicago Bears announced on Wednesday that they have agreed to terms with first-round pick Kyle Fuller (cornerback, Virginia Tech) on a four-year deal. The deal includes a fifth-year option:
Brad Biggs tweeted on Monday that Bears cap wizard Cliff Stein was hoping to get the contracts done with the draftees this week, and sure enough just four days after the draft concluded, the team has already signed seven of their eight draft picks.

On Monday, the Bears signed fourth-round pick Brock Vereen (safety, Minnesota) and sixth-round pick David Fales (quarterback, San Jose State), and on Tuesday, they signed second-round pick Ego Ferguson (defensive tackle, LSU), fourth-round pick Ka'Deem Carey (running back, Arizona), sixth-round pick Pat O'Donnell (punter, Miami), and seventh-round pick Charles Leno Jr. (offensive tackle, Boise State). Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton is the only pick that remains unsigned, but expect Stein to hammer out that deal soon with the third-round pick.

The Bears were the first team to sign any draft picks, and they're now the first team to sign their first-round pick.

You can read more about Fuller, the 14th overall selection, in our reaction (including the scouting report, and links to more articles on him) to the pick.

And you can see what Fuller brings to the table in these videos:



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The 2014 NFL Draft concluded just two days ago, but already the Chicago Bears have signed two players from their draft class.

The Bears announced on Monday night that Minnesota safety Brock Vereen and David Fales have agreed to four-year deals:


As NFL Network's Albert Breer immediately pointed out, that makes the Bears the first team to sign draft picks from the 2014 class:


670 The Score's contract guru Dan Durkin estimated the financials on the contracts:


The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs added that agents said over the weekend that Bears salary cap wizard Cliff Stein was hoping to get draft picks deals done quickly, and so expect more of them to sign soon:


For much more on Vereen and Fales, read our reaction post to the Bears' day three picks (with videos and links to more articles about them).

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Reaction To The Bears' Day 1 Pick, Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller

Reaction To The Bears' Day 2 Picks, LSU DT Ego Ferguson & ASU DT Will Sutton

The Chicago Bears concluded their 2014 NFL Draft action on Sunday by selecting Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey (pick 117 overall) and Minnesota safety Brock Vereen (pick 131 overall) in the fourth round, San Jose State quarterback David Fales (pick 183) and Miami punter Pat O'Donnnell (191) in the sixth round, and Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. (246) in the seventh round.

Ka'Deem Carey

Carey was the Bears' first offensive selection in this draft, after selecting cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round, defensive tackle Ego Ferguson in the second round, and defensive tackle Will Sutton in the third round. Carey was a force at Arizona, being named a first-team All-American twice, and was the PAC-12 Offensive Player of The Year. The 5'9", 207-pounder ran for a ridiculous 3,814 yards and 42 touchdowns over his last two seasons, and had 476 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns over that time.



Carey doesn't have great breakaway speed (4.70 40-yard dash), but is an instinctive slasher that will wow you with his cuts and ability to gain extra yards after contact. He is also very secure with the football, fumbling just six times in 793 touches at Arizona.

The former Wildcat is a very solid all-around back, much like the man he may serve as the primary backup for the Bears at running back, Matt Forte. Marc Trestman made it clear over the offseason that if the Bears added a running back to compete for the backup position with second-year-to-be running back Michael Ford, he would have to be a quality pass blocker, and Carey was considered one of the best pass-blocking backs in this draft. He is also a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Carey has drawn some Ahmad Bradshaw comparisons, and I thought that 670 The Score's Dan Durkin made a nice Carey comp on Twitter:
Right now, the bet here would be that Carey will be the Bears' No. 2 running back in 2014 due to his all-around game, although the Bears are very high on Ford as well (and Ford was very impressive last preseason as an undrafted rookie out of LSU). It will be a nice camp battle to watch, and the Bears now have some very nice depth, as well as talented youth, at the position. And keep in mind that Forte turns 29 in December, so it's possible that one of these young backs could be the Bears' starting back in the next couple of years.

For you fantasy football players, Carey makes sense as a late-round stash, especially as a Forte handcuff. With his all-around game, Carey would likely put up very good fantasy numbers in Trestman's offense.

Brock Vereen

Coming into the draft, the highest perceived positional need for the Bears was the safety position. Phil Emery talked in his pre-draft press conference about how there was a pretty big drop-off from the top few safeties in this draft class to the next tier. It appears that that the rest of the league agreed with Emery, as four safeties were selected in the first round, but only two were selected combined in rounds two and three.

The Bears still wanted to address the position in the draft; they just didn't want to reach for need over players they valued more in the early rounds. But, going into day three, the Bears decided they wanted to address running back (Carey) and safety. And not just address those areas, but get players they were very high on:

"Before the day started, when we looked at our board, we really felt that if we were going to get two quality players in the last day of the draft—particularly at running back and safety—that we were going to have to trade back into the fourth [round]," said general manager Phil Emery. 
"From the start of the day, we were trying to line up opportunities to take our fifth round [pick] and move it into the back end of the fourth, so we could come away with two quality players. We really felt that if we waited until the fifth round for that second player, they wouldn't be there."
Source: ChicagoBears.Com

The safety they were highest on of remaining players available was Minnesota's Brock Vereen:
So, the Bears took Carey with the 117th overall pick, and then made a trade with the Denver Broncos to move up to the 131st pick to snag Vereen. The Bears gave up their 2014 fifth-round pick (156) and a fifth-round pick in 2015, for the pick to select Vereen and a seventh-round pick in 2014 (in which they used to draft Boise State OL Charles Leno Jr.).

Vereen, the brother of New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen, is a 6'0", 199-pound versatile defensive back. Although listed as a safety, Vereen also started several games at cornerback at Minnesota, and many evaluators think he'd make a solid slot corner in the NFL. But, the Bears like him at safety:

"We feel that will be his best pro position," Emery said. "He certainly has the physical tools for it in terms of the athletic upside. He certainly has the mind for it in terms of his football and his instincts. And he certainly has the toughness for it. He has good experience under his belt. He's been a productive player and we're looking forward to his contributions at safety."
One of the main question marks about Vereen as an NFL safety is in regards to his size, but Emery isn't too worried about that:

"The game has changed," Emery said. "It's important that those athletes can cover athletes in space, so that helps a lot. I don't see it as a negative. He's very strong-I think he had 25 reps at 225 [pounds]-and he's a really good tackler, so I don't see his size as a deterrent.

The Bears' starting safety rotation is up for grabs, with Vereen joining Chris Conte, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings, Danny McCray, and Craig Steltz as safeties on the roster. None of those guys are clear starters, and Conte may not even be healthy for the start of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. So, Vereen will have a chance in camp to show he deserves to start or at least be a serious part of the rotation in 2014, and regardless, he may be a contributor on special teams as he was a gunner at Minnesota.



David Fales

Phil Emery said at his pre-draft press conference that the idea you find a quarterback late in the draft to develop into an eventual starter doesn't "hold water", after he did a lot of studying on the subject. Now, that was for an eventual starting quarterback; he wasn't necessarily saying you couldn't find a quality backup quarterback in the later rounds. Basically his point was that franchise quarterbacks are guys usually found in the first few rounds.

So, the Bears weren't out searching for an eventual replacement for Jay Cutler in this draft, but finding a guy to at least compete with the 30-year-old Jordan Palmer (who has just 15 career pass attempts) for the primary backup quarterback position certainly made a lot of sense. And the Bears found that guy with their sixth-round pick in San Jose State quarterback David Fales.



I have seen a lot of Fales over the last few years as I'm a Colorado State fan and San Jose State is also in the Mountain West, and I've always been impressed with him. Rewind a year ago at this time and I would've guessed he was selected in the first four rounds of the draft.

The main reasons Fales slid to the sixth round are his arm strength not being great, his deep ball accuracy not being great, and his size (6'2", 212). But as you'll see in the above videos, Fales still has nice zip and accuracy on passes under 30 yards (he actually led the nation in completion percentage in 2012 at 72.5%). You're just unlikely to air it out with him, but we saw Josh McCown do tremendously under Trestman in fashion similar to Fales' game. Quick, accurate throws and getting enough zip on those intermediate routes (it also helps when you have Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett catching your passes).

Dan Durkin (again) offered a comp I agree with for Fales:

Pat O'Donnell

PUNTERS ARE PEOPLE TOO! And the Bears kept that in mind in their draft by taking Miami's Pat O'Donnell in the sixth round.

The pick got some "Seriously, a punter?" reactions from fans, but I'm just fine with the pick.

Adam Podlesh has been brutal over the last couple of years, and the odds of a sixth-round pick usually being very productive are not large anyway. So, you get a guy that you know you will have use for (although hopefully the Bears aren't punting much), and a guy that is figures to be an upgrade over the punter you had last year (and possibly a large upgrade). And at a cheap price for the next four years. Works for me.

O'Donnell set the Hurricanes' single-season punting record with a 47.1 yards per punt average in 2013, and had 23 punts of 50+ yards. He is also an athletic freak for a punter, listed at 6'4", 220 pounds, and ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the Combine. He also did 23 reps on the bench-press at 225 pounds. So don't be surprised to see him make a few tackles, and a fake punt or two may be in the future for this guy as well.



Charles Leno Jr.

The Bears used the seventh-round pick acquired from the Broncos to select Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. Leno started 26 games at left tackle for Boise State in 2012-2013, and 13 games at right tackle in 2011.

Many evaluators also think the 6'4", 303-pound Leno could make for a solid guard in the NFL. So, Leno offers versatility on the offensive line and that's something that certainly appealed to Emery and the Bears. Leno should be a nice developmental prospect for a Bears team that is already set on the offensive line for 2014, and appears to be a very nice value in the seventh round.


Links Relating To These Draft Picks

Upfront On Past, Ka'Deem Carey Eyes Future (Rich Campbell; Chicago Tribune)
Bears' Ka'Deem Carey: Off-Field Issues 'Definitely Hurt Me' (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)
 
How Ka'Deem Carey Fits With The Chicago Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)
Durkin's Breakdown: Ka'Deem Carey (Dan Durkin; 670 The Score)
McShay: Vereen Best NFC North Pick (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)
Brock Vereen Plucked In Fourth Round To Fill Need At Safety (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)
How Brock Vereen Fits With The Chicago Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)
Durkin's Breakdown: Brock Vereen (Dan Durkin; 670 The Score)
Six-Round Pick David Fales Figures To Provide Competition At Backup QB (Mark Potash; Chicago Sun-Times
How David Fales Fits With The Chicago Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)
Durkin's Breakdown: David Fales (Dan Durkin; 670 The Score)
Punter Pat O'Donnell Bench-Pressed More Than Jadeveon Clowney At NFL Combine (Tyler Brooke; Bleacher Report)
How Pat O'Donnell Fits With The Chicago Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)
How Charles Leno Jr. Fits With The Chicago Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

After selecting Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Ego Ferguson, and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton.

Bears continued to look to upgrade their defense on day two (Friday) by selecting LSU defensive tackle

The selection of Ferguson came as a bit of a surprise to many, as a lot of evaluators had a third or fourth round grade on the LSU product, and the Bears selected him in the second round with the 51st overall pick.

Ferguson is a very large man at 6'3", 315 pounds, and has lots of upside at defensive tackle, but the results weren't there as much as they should've been at the college level (granted in the SEC) for a guy at that size and talent level. But, the upside is most definitely there, and the Bears clearly like the chances we see it.

And even if Ferguson's overall game doesn't make big strides, the Bears feel Ferguson and his big body will do a nice job clogging up the run lanes, at least:

While Ferguson recorded only one sack in 38 career games at LSU, Emery was impressed with how dominant he was against the run, especially late last season. 
"The thing that kept coming up when you watched him against SEC [opponents] was that he controlled the front," Emery said. "People could not run the ball up inside when he was on the field, and that was a big attraction for us.

Emery added this about Ferguson as a pass-rusher:

"He is very tough at the point of attack. This is a very strong, very powerful young man. I wanted to see where he was at rush-wise and each one of those games he had four or five power rushes where he disrupted the quarterback. Does he need to get better at that? Yes, he does. [But] every player in the draft needs to get better at something."
Source: ChicagoBears.Com

So, again, Ferguson still has areas to improve and currently leaves you wanting more, but there's some exciting potential there. Dan Kadar of SB Nation's NFL Draft website, 'Mocking The Draft', had this to say on Twitter after the Bears selected Ferguson:
What made many Bears fans feel more accepting of the Ferguson pick, was the Bears then selecting a player in the third round (82nd overall pick) that many fans wanted the team to just take when they selected Ferguson, in defensive tackle Will Sutton.

Sutton is 6'0" and was playing at a weight as high as 320 pounds as a senior at Arizona State, but saw his production take a big dip in comparison to his junior year, when he weighed 285 pounds.

As a junior, Sutton had a ridiculous 13.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position. So, the Bears definitely think his weight gain played a big part in Sutton's drop in production, and plan to get him back into the 285-295 pound range :

During a conference call with reporters Friday night, Sutton said that he currently weighs 290 pounds. The Bears would like Sutton to keep his weight between 285-295 pounds.
"If he stays consistently in there he's going to be a very good football player," said general manager Phil Emery.
Emery understands that Sutton put on the extra weight at Arizona State because he was asked to do so and feels it was evidence that the defensive tackle was committed to his team.
He was told by a lot of people-people that he trusted-that he needed to gain weight and get bigger.
"Maybe he needed to gain a little bit, but not quite that much and I think once he did it was hard for him to get it back down. It affected his play but you're still talking about someone that was player of the year in his conference on defense.
Source: ChicagoBears.Com

NFL Network's terrific analyst (and former scout) Daniel Jeremiah went as far to say that Sutton looked like Aaron Donald, the No. 13 overall pick in this draft, before the 2013 weight gain:
If Sutton can return to that level of play, obviously getting him as a third-round pick is an absolute steal.

Ferguson and Sutton add needed young talent to a defensive tackle rotation that also features Jeremiah Ratliff, Stephen Paea, and likely Lamarr Houston and Israel Idonije for passing downs.

Let's go to the links for some more reading material on these draft picks...

How Ego Ferguson Fits In With The Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

How Will Sutton Fits In With The Bears (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

Bears' First Three Picks Address One Core Problem: Run 'D' (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Bears Defensive Overhaul Continues In NFL Draft (Brad Biggs; Chicago Tribune)

Ferguson Connects With Veteran DL Coach (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Will Sutton's 'Weighting Game' Pays Off With Bears (Chris Boden; CSN Chicago)

Bears' New DT Ferguson Do Doubters: 'Watch Out For Me' (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)


And Ego Ferguson video highlights:



And Will Sutton video highlights (the second video is of him in 2012):



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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:

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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