The Chicago Bears defense didn’t have their best day last Sunday, but they remain one of the best in the NFL. A big reason for that is they have talent everywhere. It starts up front with Khalil Mack. However, not enough people give credit to just how good the secondary is. None have performed better to this point over the past two years than cornerback Kyle Fuller. Once considered a fading bust, the former 14th overall pick revived his career in 2017 before becoming an All-Pro in 2018 with seven interceptions.
Through five games this year he has two interceptions, five passes defended and 28 tackles. This puts him on pace for six interceptions, 16 passes defended, and 89 tackles. That would be another excellent season, putting him in territory not even the great Charles Tillman reached during his superlative career. This might explain why NFL Network analyst DeAngelo Hall felt the need to include Fuller in his rankings of the top five cornerbacks in football.
Here’s what he had to say about his fifth-best choice.
“Fuller is coming off his best season in 2018 and wasted no time adding to his career INT total with two within the first three weeks this season. Although he — and the rest of the Bears’ defense, for that matter — struggled across the pond, Fuller is undoubtedly one of the elite cornerbacks because of his versatility.
He’s a monster in coverage who can match receivers step for step when going in and out of their breaks, and he always seems to find the ball, whether in man or zone coverage, with seven passes defensed this season. Another thing that separates Fuller is his ability to be a physical corner. He’s a sure tackler who plays a key role on one of the league’s most tenacious defenses.”
Kyle Fuller is carving a legacy few have in Chicago
When people think about great Chicago Bears defenders, it almost always focuses on the front seven. The litany of great middle linebackers like Brian Urlacher, Mike Singletary, and Dick Butkus. Or great defensive linemen like Mack, Julius Peppers, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, and Doug Atkins. Defensive backs have traditionally not gotten a lot of love in team history. To date, the Bears have no cornerback or safety in the Hall of Fame. Hard to imagine given their rich defensive legacy.
What Fuller is doing is something few corners have done in team history. Tillman is one of the few. It’s quite encouraging to see the young man drafted to be his heir apparent is turning out to be a great player in his own right. At 27-years old, he’s in his prime and seems capable of carrying this level of play for another few years at least. If so, he could challenge for the mantle of best cornerback in Bears history. Something nobody thought was possible just five years ago.