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At No. 14, general manager Phil Emery has indeed moved to help his defense, selecting Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller.
With that, the Bears have added reinforcement to their secondary with Fuller certain to compete for a starting role and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker certain to look for ways to use Fuller’s versatility, zone coverage instincts and football aptitude.
After the Bears finished the 2013 season as the league’s 30th-ranked defense, allowing an NFL-worst 161.4 rushing yards per game and a franchise record 6,313 total yards for the year, it was expected Emery would use the organization’s first-round pick to add a potential difference maker on that side of the ball.
Defensive tackle and safety were figured to be the biggest needs with cornerback and linebacker potentially in the conversation as well. But Pitt All-American defensive tackle Aaron Donald came off the board at No. 13 to the Rams. So with a choice at No. 14 between Fuller, safeties Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and cornerback Darqueze Dennard, Emery couldn’t pass on a playmaker who had 10 pass break-ups last season.
In Fuller, the Bears believe they’re getting a long-term answer at cornerback, a rangy defensive back who can play inside and outside and adds a toughness to the defense. Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are still around as starters. But Tillman is on a one-year deal and is likely nearing the end of his days as a Bear, opening up opportunity for Fuller to learn and develop and then take over when the time comes.
Barring a trade, the Bears’ next picks in this draft will come Friday evening. They own the 51st overall selection in the second round and No. 82 in Round 3.
–Chicago Tribune reporting