Kyle Fuller Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener


The Countdown to Kickoff series rolls on here at Bear Goggles On and today we profile one of the best young players on the team. He is a player whom a lot is expected from, especially on a newly formed 3-4 defense in need of playmakers. He is second-year cornerback, #23 Kyle Fuller. Today we are 23 days from kickoff, so today is his day.

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Heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, the Bears were in desperate need of secondary help. Safety, specifically, was the consensus biggest position of need amongst Bears fans and my hope was that they would use the 14th overall pick for the best available safety.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix out of powerhouse Alabama was, at one stage of the draft process, considered the top prospect at the position. By the time draft day rolled around it was almost certain he would be available when the Bears picked and he was the player I wanted. Seemed like a slam-dunk, but things are never that easy, not when concepts of best available player and draft grades and trusting your board are in play.

With their selection the Bears instead chose cornerback Kyle Fuller out of Virginia Tech and while we’re still looking for a difference-maker at safety, the draft choice has to be considered an unequivocal success. Tip of the hat to Phil Emery on this one.

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) poses with commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number fourteen overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock considered Fuller the most NFL-ready cornerback coming out of college, and the rookie quickly set about proving Mayock right. After a triceps injury cut Peanut Tillman’s season short (and unfortunately ended his Bears career), Fuller was thrust into the spotlight.

The injury to Tillman occurred on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in San Francisco’s new stadium during the second week of the season, and in front of a national TV audience Fuller came thru. During a Bears comeback in a game that once saw them down 20-0, Fuller intercepted San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick twice.

In the following week, when the Bears’ season still had hope and the bottom hadn’t yet fallen out of the Trestman experiment, Fuller had another interception. That was the Bears’ second straight road win, this time in New York against the Jets, and they were 2-1 with some momentum heading into a home game against Green Bay.

Things didn’t work out the best from there for the Bears, going 3-10 the rest of the way. Fuller gradually began to feel the rookie wall and as good as he was early in the year, he wasn’t able to have the same level of impact down the stretch in a perpetually bad Mel Tucker defense. Fuller finished the season with four interceptions, 10 passes defended, three forced fumbles and 64 tackles (50 solo) in 14 starts.

What To Expect From Kyle Fuller In 2015:

Big things. Whether or not that’s fair to expect can be debated, considering the new defensive scheme being installed and the challenges that process brings, but the Bears really need Fuller to be solid. In a defense that is sure to spring leaks throughout the year as players learn the nuances of Vic Fangio’s scheme, it is imperative that certain players step up.

Fuller is one of them. Being a top draft pick and having a standout rookie campaign will do that. The question is, can he come thru? A quiet preseason thus far has triggered some hand-wringing, but remember — it’s just the preseason. Fuller will be fine and as long as he stays healthy, should be a player the Bears defense can rely on for solid play in 2015.

Next: Who Will Be The Bears 2015 Defensive Starters?

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