Fansided Week 7 Mock Draft: Bears Select CB Kendall Fuller
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Fansided has released their 2016 NFL 1st round mock draft (7.0) this week and they have the Chicago Bears selecting Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller. If that name sounds familiar it’s because he’s the brother of Bears CB, and 2014 1st round pick, Kyle Fuller.
The Bears definitely need help in the secondary after getting burned by opposing receivers for most of the season, though they used a first round pick on Kyle Fuller back in 2014 and are still waiting for consistent results. It normally takes NFL corners at least two or three years before they develop into shut down defenders, so Bear fans should probably be patient. The older Fuller flashed talent during his rookie year and has shown signs the last few games of being a quality NFL corner, but the jury is still out.
Should the Bears use their first round pick, #11 in Fansided’s mock, on another CB? Another Fuller? I will break down my pros, cons, summary and my preferred pick below:
The youngest Fuller comes from impressive bloodlines with his three older brothers all playing in the NFL (Vincent, Corey, Kyle). Most scouts think Kendall has the most upside of the Fuller siblings and he is widely considered an early first round pick. Fuller has good size (6’0 | 197), above average speed (4.47), and natural corner instincts. He has had plenty of success early in his college career, being named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and 1st team All-ACC in 2014. Even more impressive, Fuller leads all FBS corners with 34 pass break-ups over the last two seasons.
Fuller’s 2015 season was cut short with a torn meniscus early in the year. He should be 100% healed by draft season, but a full year on the sidelines may hurt his draft status. There isn’t much else not to like about Fuller. The only negatives I’ve seen are a tendency to use his hands too much, which won’t fly at the NFL level, and the same frustrating habit of not turning around to find the ball on deep passes that his brother Kyle is guilty of as well.
Before his injury, Fuller was a no doubt top-15 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft but a torn meniscus is not a minor injury. NFL scouts will need to see Fuller prove he still has the same 4.47 speed and elite change of direction ability that made him so successful in college. A strong combine showing could put Fuller right back in the top-15 as UConn corner Byron Jones missed most of the 2014 season with a similar injury and then a strong combine performance earned him a first round pick by the Cowboys and he was nowhere near the prospect Fuller is. So as long as Fuller can prove his movement skills are still the same post-injury, he should be a lock for a top-15 selection. That doesn’t necessarily mean I think the Bears should draft Fuller… My preferred pick for the Bears in 2016 is below.
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Kendall Fuller has all the tools to be an excellent NFL corner and that would fill a need for the Bears and be a cool story joining his brother as starting CBs for the Bears, but I don’t think it’s the best idea. While I wouldn’t be upset with the Bears drafting a high-upside CB like Kendall Fuller in the first round, I think they have too many other pressing needs.
The Bears secondary has been exposed often this preseason, but a lack of talent isn’t the only thing to blame. The Bears pass rush has been anemic and the D-line is perhaps the thinnest position on the team after the release of both Ray McDonald and Jay Ratliff. No matter how good the Bears corners are, it’s not going to matter if opposing QBs have all day to find someone open, eventually they will.
Based on who is left according to Fansided’s mock draft, I think the Bears would be better off drafting a defensive lineman who could help with both the run defense and pass rush. Baylor’s massive DE Shawn Oakman (6’9 | 280) has the potential to be a game-changing player in the Bears new 3-4 defensive scheme. Oakman is raw, but under the tutelage of DC Vic Fangio could become one of the rare DE’s who is a force against both the run and pass. He has the athleticism to be one of the best defensive players in the game and if Oakman somehow drops to the 11th pick the Bears need to pull the trigger. Fangio is one of the best in the business at molding talented D-linemen and they don’t come any more talented than Oakman.
Other options: QB Jared Goff (Cal), ILB Jaylan Smith (ND), OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)
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