(CBS) — The Bears drafted Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller with the No. 14 overall pick in Thursday night’s NFL Draft.
Fuller, 22, a native of Baltimore, is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. He attended Mount Saint Joseph High School.
It’s the first time since 1996 that the Bears have used their first-round pick on a cornerback. Jon Gruden called Fuller “his favorite corner in the draft” and compared him to Charles Tillman.
While he’s not a safety, Fuller is versatile and fills a need in the secondary, and he should figure into the rotation right away, be it at No. 2 cornerback, at nickelback or even safety if the coaches want to get creative.
“We didn’t talk about it specifically, but coming in, I feel like they know I can play corner or nickel, possibly safety,” Fuller said. “Whatever it is, I’m a versatile player. I know they’ll put me in the best situation for myself and for the team.
“I haven’t actually played safety. Some of the things we did at Virginia Tech was some safety stuff. but being able to line up… My skill set, as far as being able to play safety, I’m tough, physical, can come up and tackle. I haven’t played it, but I played corner and nickel, and I feel like I can do that.”
Fuller has run a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and has a 38.5-inch vertical leap.
“Definitely being a tough and physical player,” Fuller said of his strengths. “My ability to be versatile – being able to play corner, slot. My ability to tackle. I feel like I have a good knowledge of the game. And then overall, just my ability to make plays for my team.”
Asked why he took Fuller instead of a safety, Bears general manager Phil Emery said he “decided on Kyle Fuller the player.” Emery also added that he when he saw Fuller was still available at No. 14, he wanted no part of a trade. He told those in his war room, “We’re not moving anywhere.”
In a conference call shortly after being selected, Fuller said he was capable of playing safety even though he hasn’t done it before.
The Bears brought Fuller in for a pre-draft visit and also went to Blacksburg to see him work out as well.
Here was part of CBSChicago.com Bears beat writer Adam Hoge’s pre-draft analysis of Fuller:
Strengths: Good height and length. Flips hips and changes direction fluidly. Closes fast to the ball and uses his long arms to break up passes. Doesn’t give up the home run. Length, combined with a 38.5 inch vertical will have some GMs drooling. Supportive against the run. Team captain.
Weaknesses: Thin frame. Needs to get stronger. Limited press coverage experience. Tackling technique needs work (nearly knocked himself out against Alabama). Gives up separation sometimes and relies on his closing speed.
The Bears’ next scheduled picks are:
–Round 2: No. 19 (No. 51 overall)
–Round 3: No. 18 (No. 82 overall)
–Round 4: No. 17 (No. 117 overall)
–Round 5: No. 16 (No. 156 overall)
–Round 6: No. 7 (No. 183 overall – acquired from Tampa Bay in trade for Gabe Carimi)
–Round 6: No. 15 (No. 191 overall)