BLACKSBURG – Former Virginia Tech defensive back Kyle Fuller became the 29th defensive back into Tech history to be drafted, going to the Chicago Bears with the 14th overall pick in the first round at the NFL Draft held in New York on Thursday night.
Fuller, a native of Baltimore, Md., became Tech’s 10th first-round selection in an NFL Draft (including former linebacker Mike Johnson, who was a first-round pick in the 1984 supplemental draft). He became the Hokies’ first first-round choice since tailback David Wilson went to the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL Draft and the first former Tech defensive back to go in the first round since DeAngelo Hall went to the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
“I’d like to thank my family and my friends who have supported me through this whole process,” Fuller said at an introductory news conference on Friday. “I want to thank Marc [Trestman, Chicago’s coach] and Phil [Emery, Chicago’s general manager]. I also want to thank the McCaskey family [who own the Bears]. I’m glad to be here.”
Fuller, a three-time All-ACC selection, started 41 games in his career and played in 50. This past season, he started eight games and played in nine, missing the final three games with a core injury. He recorded 24 tackles (17 solo) and two interceptions. He also broke up 10 passes.
For his career, Fuller recorded 173 tackles (129 solo), including 23.5 for a loss, and he finished with six interceptions.
“When I think of the Chicago Bears, I think of their physical defense,” Fuller said. “I feel like I fit in very well.
“I feel like I’m a bigger corner, and I can match up with those bigger receivers and tight ends. The competition I went up against in the ACC, like [former UNC tight end and current Detroit Lion first-round pick] Eric Ebron, prepared me for this level, so I’ll definitely be looking forward to going against him.”
Chicago coach Marc Trestman said that he was looking for a cornerback with Fuller’s skills because of the competition that the Bears face in the NFC North. In particular, the Green Bay Packers feature a lot of offensive firepower with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the Detroit Lions feature receiver Calvin Johnson.
“He has high football intelligence, and he’s humble and hard working,” Trestman said of Fuller. “We all know, we’ve seen him play, and he’s physically tough. He said it himself. We want him to bring that to the table.
“He’s versatile, and look at our division, we’ve got to line up against 3-wides [receivers] so much during the season, and we’ve got some tremendous offensive weapons in our division. Certainly Kyle gives us the versatility because he can play inside and outside and cover the types of players we’re seeing.”
Fuller became the third member of his family to be drafted, though his draft process differed from his two older brothers. Fuller received an invitation to go to the NFL Draft in New York City and stay in the “green” room until his selection. Neither of his brothers were expected to be high draft picks and did not get to have that same experience.
Corey Fuller, a receiver, went in the sixth round to the Detroit Lions last year, and in 2005, defensive back Vincent Fuller went in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans.
“Mine [his draft process] was a little bit different, but the biggest thing I took from them is to enjoy it and take it one day at a time,” Kyle said. “Don’t really think about where you’re going to go. At the end of the day, God is going to take care of everything. That happened to me, so I really enjoyed the whole process.”
Fuller said some of the Bears’ veteran players have reached out to him and congratulated him on joining the organization, including quarterback Jay Cutler and cornerback Charles Tillman. He added that he looks forward to working with them.
“I look forward to coming in and being behind those guys and learning from them,” Fuller said of the Bears secondary. “But a lot of guys here have reached out to me and congratulated me and are looking forward to working with me and likewise as well. I definitely look forward to coming in here and starting with those guys.
“I’m just going to come in and learn the defense and work hard and get better every day. I want to learn from those veterans and then we’ll see what happens.”
The NFL Draft continues on Friday with the second and third rounds. The draft wraps up on Saturday with rounds 4-7.
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