BR Scouting Report: CB Kyle Fuller

The Bears will surely be addressing cornerback early in this year's draft. We break down Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, who could be a sleeper option for Chicago in the first round.

Chicago Bears cornerbacks, while very good, are old. The top three guys are all 30 or older and aren't realistic long-term options. Expect GM Phil Emery to address the position in this year's draft.

One player that has been moving up draft boards of late is Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, whom many feel is worth a first-round selection.

Let's go to the film room to find out if Fuller is the club's long-term answer at the position.

**UPDATE: Fuller is visiting with the Bears today (4/8) at Halas Hall.**

Kyle Fuller (6-0, 190)

40-yard dash: 4.49
Bench press: 12
Vertical jump: 38.5
Broad jump: 10-8
Short shuttle: 4.49
3-Cone: 6.90

Pros

-Hard-nosed player. Will repeatedly stick his nose in against the run. Quality tackler. Drops guys in their tracks. Explodes to the ball. Great closing speed.
-Works hard to fight off blocks.
-Special teams experience, all four phases. Quick off the edge in punt and kick block. Gives full effort.
-Changes directions well. Plants and flies to the ball in an instant.
-Extremely effective as a blitzer. Used as fourth linebacker against Georgia Tech.
-Doesn't allow separation in coverage. Really good instincts.
-Active when ball is in the air. Reads eyes of receivers well. Ready to turn to ball in an instant.

Cons

-Needs to break down better when tackling. Often comes in out of control too often. Must wrap better.

-Loves to jump on underneath stuff, which causes him to be late to get out of his backpedal on fly routes. Gets caught flat-footed. Relies too much on his speed, which can result in deep burns. Speedy receivers can exploit him.

-Not very physical in press coverage. Allows a lot of free releases.


Kyle Fuller
Joe Robbins/Getty

Analysis

Fuller might be the toughest cornerback in this year's draft. He's fearless in run support and closes like a bullet. He needs to break down better and tighten his form but his ability to drop opposing players in a hurry will be very valuable on off-tackle plays, sweeps and bubble screens.

He's a confident player in coverage, almost to a fault. Fuller sinks his hips well, allowing him to break quickly on ins, outs and hitches. That, combined with his natural instincts, gives him big-play potential, yet it also leaves him vulnerable to the deep ball. He ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the combine, so he's not the type of corner who can afford to be late out of his backpedal, particularly in press man.

In coverage, he's a boom-or-bust player but there's no denying his football acumen and athleticism. See the video below of his game against Georgia Tech. The Hokies deployed Fuller as a blitzing linebacker on nearly every play. He repeatedly stuck his nose in the trenches, battling offensive linemen and making plays. It truly is a one-of-a-kind performance, one that shows the type of football player he is, both physically and mentally.

Fuller is considered a borderline first-round pick. If he were to fall to the Bears at 51st overall in the second round, he'd be nearly impossible to pass up as Charles Tillman's long-term replacement.

Yet that's unlikely to happen, as his stock has risen the past month. Most consider him the third best corner in the draft behind Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard.

To grab Fuller, the Bears would ideally trade back into the second half of the first round but that requires a trade partner, something for which there is no guarantee. If Dennard and Gilbert are both off the board when it's Chicago's turn to pick at 14th overall, Fuller could become Emery's next boom-or-bust first-round pick.

That may be high for most, as he lacks the shine and polish of your typical Top 15 pick, but Emery has proven he doesn't care what the draftniks say. If Fuller is Emery's guy, and he doesn't think he'll be there in the second, Fuller could be the club's starting cornerback of the future. Considering his upside, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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