In a season that left little to look forward to in Chicago, Kyle Fuller, at least for at times this season, appears to be a worthy first-round pick for the Bears. After an excellent start to 2014 fuller definitely struggled at times this season, but in the end he proved himself to be an important piece in this team’s future. He ended the season as the rookie leader in interceptions, with four, and finished fourth among rookies in passes defended, with 14. His three forced fumbles were also more than any other rookie, and tied for the most among defensive backs in the entire NFL. For reference, in his rookie season Charles Tillman finished with four interceptions, 12 passes defended, and two forced fumbles. While it’s far too early to compare the two, if there was any redeeming quality in the Bears 2014 season, it was in Kyle Fuller’s bright future.
Fuller made his presence known early, intercepting three passes and forcing two fumbles by Week 4, including two second-half interceptions in a comeback win over the 49ers. However, like the Bears, Fuller’s season quickly went downhill as he was often injured and was routinely outplayed by the veterans he was forced to guard each week, such as Calvin Johnson and Jordy Nelson. Ultimately, four interceptions through 16 games shows big-play ability from the rookie.
Fuller battled health issues for most of the 2014 season, including hand, knee and hip injuries, and to his credit the 22-year old played in all 16 games. But, at 5’11’’ 190 lbs. he remains undersized in a position where he likely be guarding the opposing team’s best receiver week-after-week. Durability may be something to keep an eye on with the young defensive back.
Five cornerbacks were taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and if Year One is any indication, the Bears may have gotten the best of the bunch. While Bradley Roby has proven to be a quality player, and nobody can question Justin Gilbert’s talent, Fuller’s ballhawking ability puts him atop the list of young defensive backs.