Bears’ meeting with Viriginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller postponedContinue reading.
Ten facts to know: Bears draftee Kyle Fuller
Kyle Fuller was a bit of a surprise draft choice Thursday night, leaving fans to scramble and learn all they can about the Virginia Tech cornerback, chosen No. 14 by the Bears.
Here are 10 things to know about Fuller, from why he was chosen to why he’s a rare draft pick to what music played when he was chosen:
• He wowed Phil Emery — by playing against the triple option. The Bears general manager was sold on Fuller when he attended a game against Georgia Tech on Sept. 26 and watched him play an inverted safety position to try to stop the option offense.
Fuller had three tackles, two for loss, and a forced fumble in the Hokies’ 17-10 victory.
“I’m watching the Georgia Tech game and he’s crashing through gaps — which means he had to go through offensive linemen to get to the ball — and he did it repetitively,” Emery said Thursday night. “That’s very impressive. You don’t see too many 190-pound guys willing to do that.
“So that just tells you a lot about him as a football player and giving it up for his team. He did play an invert.
“Virginia Tech has been famous for their 8-man fronts and they had double-inverts on the outside — or strong safeties with a 4-2 front.
“And he played that in (2011), and that’s when he had all that tackle-for-loss production.
“So, a player that will do anything and everything for his team to help them win.”
Emery praised his game against Alabama, too. You can see his highlight reel from that game here.
Walt Harris | Sun-Times file
• He’s the first defensive back taken by the Bears since 1996. The team drafted Walt Harris No. 13 in 1996. Fuller is the fifth DB picked in the first round since the merger in 1970; the four played 39 seasons, including 27 with the Bears.
• He’s from a football family. Fuller is one of four Baltimore-born brothers to play at Virginia Tech. Wide receiver Corey spent last year on the Lions’ practice squad, and Vincent played safety for the Titans from 2005-2010 and with the Lions and Patriots in 2011.
“It means a lot in terms of how he presents himself as a professional and understanding what professionalism means in the NFL,” Emery said.
Fuller credited his family for his success.
“My parents did a real good job of growing us all up,” he said. “Even starting with my oldest brother.
“I’ve learned a lot from them. So it’s definitely been a blessing for our whole family.”
• He likes Drake. For the first time this year, NFL players were allowed to choose the songs that would play after their name was announced at Radio City Music Hall. Fuller’s choice: “We Made It” by Drake featuring Souljia Boy. Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman chose the same song, but was not picked in the first round.
Will Furrer in 1993 | Sun-Times file
• He’s the fourth Virginia Tech player drafted by the Bears, and only the second in 56 years. The Bears selected quarterback Will Furrer in the fourth round of the 1992 draft; before that, the team took tackle Russ Moon (24th round) in 1958 and tackle Tom Dalzell (22nd round) in 1957.
• He’s part of a record-breaking class. Perhaps due to the pass-happy nature of today’s NFL, Thursday saw a record nine defensive backs selected in the first round.
- cornerback Justin Gilbert (8, Browns)
- safety Calvin Pryor (18, Jets)
- safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Packers, 21)
- cornerback Darqueze Denard (Bengals, 24)
- cornerback Jason Verrett (Chargers, 25)
- safety Deone Bucannon (Cardinals 27)
- safety Jimmie Ward (49ers, 30)
- cornernack Bradley Roby (Broncos, 31), and Fuller
• He’s healthy. Fuller missed the last six games of the year with a sports hernia that required November surgery, but said he’s “100 percent ready to go.”
Emery wasn’t concerned about his medical report, calling it “more than passing.”
• He’s big — but needs to get bigger. Fuller entered college as a 160-pounder, but played his senior season at 195 pounds. He was praised for his weight-room work, bench-pressing 330 pounds and squatting 370 pounds.
Emery said that, like all rookies, he needs to get even stronger in the weight room.
“Yeah, he could get stronger,” Emery said, “but the most important thing is for him to get here, to immerse himself in our system and to immerse himself with his teammates.”
• He’s fast — but didn’t beat his bro. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Fuller said he wanted to “beat Corey’s 4.37” second time in the 40-yard dash. He ran a 4.49. [Watch his combine workout for the Bears]
• He’s ready. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called Fuller “the most NFL-ready cornerback I saw on tape,” even if he isn’t as fast as Browns draftee Justin Gilbert.
Mayock compared him to Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers, another Virginia Tech alum.
The Bears would happily take that; Flowers made the 2013 Pro Bowl.