Chicago Bears End of Season Review: Kylie Fitts
How did the rookie sixth-round pick Kylie Fitts perform for the Chicago Bears this season?
The Chicago Bears did not get much production out of Kylie Fitts; he played just 58 snaps on defense and even less on special teams. Fitts spent the first six games of his season on the inactive list and was only active for six games, seeing snaps in four.
However, he played 39 snaps against the Buffalo Bills that gave us an idea that he is heading in a direction that the team wants. They will likely be looking for a step forward from Fitts next season.
With Khalil Mack injured the Bears shifted Leonard Floyd into the Mack role and put Fitts into the role of Leonard Floyd. This means not only playing off of the ball more but also containing, as shown in the play here. Even on this play, you can see he sets out wide to contain in the pocket, as the rush forces the quarterback to step up.
However, when he did get his chances to pass rush we got to see a bit of where Fitts can go. Fitts runs a stunt here and draws the left tackle into the defensive end. This leaves a clear lane for the blitzing Bryce Callahan.
On this play, Fitts rips a spin move that occupies the tackle while a blitzer squirts free again. Lastly, we see Fitts in Week 17 against the Vikings in what may have been his best rep of the season. The play is linked here. Fitts can get a long arm on the tackle and break an initial push. Then he swims underneath and forces the quarterback to step into pressure.
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While he did not finish on these snaps, he showed some flashes in a variety of areas. Even when asked to drop into coverage he was quick to read and react as shown here.
Given his small amount of playing time, it is tough to give Fitts a hard grade for the season. However, it is telling that the team kept him around despite being unable to bring much special teams value. When Khalil Mack went down, they called on him, and he showed flashes and understanding.
In Week 17 they thought he earned a chance to prove himself and he showed a step forward again. Year two will be a big one for Fitts. Can he take a step towards competing to be in the Aaron Lynch role?