When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called Kyle Fuller's name as the 14th pick in the draft for the Chicago Bears there were a lot of confused Bears fans. Both top safeties were still on the board, and with the #1 defensive tackle gone, we all just knew it'd be a safety.
Instead Bears GM Phil Emery took the highest rated defender remaining on his board, and his #1 rated corner.
Once the initial shock of not nabbing a safety wore off, many fans were happy with the pick. Kyle Fuller is a very good football player and he should make an immediate impact.
When scanning the national reporters for their thoughts on the pick, it was mostly positive. Here are a few I came across.
From CBS Sports Pete Prisco.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>I love the Fuller pick. The top corner in my mind and they need corners in a division with two good passers. GRADE: A <a href="http://t.co/KPxAyHqyNs">http://t.co/KPxAyHqyNs</a></p>— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/PriscoCBS/statuses/464581538404130817">May 9, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Bryan Fisher, college football writer for NFL.com, placed the Fuller pick in his "good pick, good fit" category.
A perfect player to play the nickel before taking over for Charles Tillman or Tim Jennings, the savvy Fuller will be a great addition to the Chicago secondary.
The NFL Network's Mike Mayock called Fuller the best corner in the draft and had him as his top defensive back prospect. Here's Mayock's post draft analysis.
"Talk bout DNA. His older brother Vincent played in the NFL. He other older brother Corey plays for the Lions. He played with his younger brother Kendall, who was a freshman at Virginia Tech (in 2013). I thought he was most NFL-ready cornerback I saw on tape. He doesn't move as fast as Justin Gilbert. In run support, he reminds me of (Kansas City Chiefs cornerback) Brandon Flowers when he came out of Virginia Tech. Fuller can play nickel corner on Day 1."
Sports Illustrated gave the pick an A-, but they weren't all in on his selection.
Plain and simple, the Bears had to address their secondary. Cornerback is a good place to start, with Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings both aging rapidly and minimal depth in place. The need for a versatile CB comes even more into play in the NFC North, with Green Bay and Detroit capable of spreading the field through the air (and Minnesota trending in that direction, too).
Was Fuller a better option than Dennard? Maybe not, but the Bears no doubt ranked him higher and have to be thrilled with this result.
ESPN's Michael C. Wright gave the pick a thumbs up.
Although Chicago is already set at cornerback for the short term, Fuller will likely come in as the Day 1 starter at the nickel corner spot. He should see plenty of time given the frequency the Bears operate out of sub packages.
SB Nation went with a B- for the Fuller pick.
The risk: Chicago had its choice of safeties and passed on the position to take Fuller. Chicago's quagmire at safety continues.
The reward: Fuller has a chance to become a No. 1 corner in Chicago and will help improve a middling pass defense.
Walter Football gave the pick a B+.
Everyone on ESPN is saying that the Bears landed a talented cornerback, but I'm not so sure Kyle Fuller plays corner. I've heard they like him as a safety. He does fit what Phil Emery looks for in defenders, and that's why I had him selecting Fuller in my mock. There's no doubt that he fills a big need, and he was undoubtedly one of the better players on the board.