Even with Jennings, Tillman, Bears drafted starter in Fuller

Even with Jennings, Tillman, Bears drafted starter in Fuller
May 19, 2014, 10:30 am
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Bears GM Phil Emery said before this year’s draft that finding immediate-impact players – interpreted as “starters” – was a mission statement. Opting for Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller over a projected day-one starter at safety with the 14th pick, despite starters Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman in place, was in fact landing a starter in Bears thinking.

Fuller, who worked primarily at the left cornerback spot throughout last weekend’s rookie minicamp, is expected to begin the season as the No. 3 cornerback. But because of matchup situations ranging from tight end Jimmy Graham in New Orleans to the three-receiver offense of Green Bay, “If Kyle comes in and helps us in those matchup situations, he’s going to play as much as a starter,” said Emery, appearing on WSCR-AM’ 670’s “The Mully and Hanley Show.

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Instead of “nickel corner,” which implies “backup” to some, “just say ‘third corner’ and you definitely need three in the NFL,” Emery said. “You’d love to have four, five that can play to a starting level.”

Emery also reiterated the NFL fact that cornerback is a higher-value position from the salary and difficulty factor, including difficulty finding good ones. The success rate for safeties from round four on through the undrafted free agents is high as well, and Emery addressed safety in the fourth round with Brock Vereen out of Minnesota.

Kam Chancellor, two-time Pro Bowl strong safety for the Seattle Seahawks, came out of Virginia Tech in the 2010 fifth round. On the other hand, the Seahawks invested their 14th-overall pick that same year in Earl Thomas, a three-time Pro Bowl selection himself.