BOURBONNAIS — It wouldn't be a surprise to see a rookie struggle on his first day of NFL training camp.
But that was far from the case for Bears first-round draft pick Kyle Fuller at Oliver Nazarene University on Friday morning.
Fuller, the No. 14 overall selection from Virginia Tech, made his presence felt in the secondary with two interceptions, including a spectacular diving grab off of second-string quarterback Jordan Palmer during 11-on-11 drills. His second pick came after wide receiver Terrence Tolliver slipped on a pass from Jimmy Clausen.
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Despite his success on Day 1, Fuller isn't getting too high or too low from his performance.
"I'm Just playing my technique and fundamentals, and when the ball's in the air I'm just trying to make a play," Fuller said. “Coach has been harping about coming out and getting takeaways. It's definitely a good start, but I've still got a lot of work to do."
Fuller spent the day at cornerback, lined up opposite Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, with the first-team nickel unit, which is the same positioning the Bears used during organized team activities last month. Fuller also saw corner duties with the second-team base defense. Although Fuller may not have the "starter" label attached to his name yet, he's expected to contribute as early as Week 1.
And with Tillman, who signed a one-year deal earlier this offseason, nearing the end of his career, the Bears hope that Fuller will be a big part of their future going forward.
"It was a good start for Kyle," head coach Marc Trestman said. "That was a terrific play he made in the first series of the day. The second one, he got a wrong route and he was in the right place and made the play, and that's a good thing. He's around the football. It was a good start for him."
Although Fuller looked spectacular at times, he did show some growing pains that all rookies inevitably go through.
CFL standout Chris Williams beat Fuller on a go route down the right sidelines for a big gain during 11-on-11 drills after Fuller slipped on the play. Later, Brandon Marshall looked to get a piece of Fuller's jersey — which a veteran wide receiver like Marshall would likely get away with during a regular season contest — and slipped in front of the rookie for a completion.
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Jennings had Fuller's back immediately and began signaling for a flag to the coaching staff along the sidelines.
With a combined 19 years of NFL experience, four Pro Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl ring for Tillman and Jennings, the Bears young cornerback has a wealth of knowledge in front of him that should help him succeed at the next level.
"Those guys [Jennings and Tillman] are two great guys that I can go to if I have any questions," Fuller said. "Just being a pro in all aspects, so that definitely helps me."