The Chicago Bears have overhauled their secondary to the point where a former first-round pick is a forgotten man.
Kyle Fuller was the last first-round pick of Phil Emery’s regime, and one of the few players remaining who was coached by Marc Trestman. However, none of that has any value to GM Ryan Pace as he reshapes and rebuilds the Bears’ roster. With no sentimental value tying him to the organization or its decision makers, Fuller is on the hot seat.
Fuller recently said the knee injury that kept him or of action all year in 2016 isn’t a problem going into the 2017 campaign. This is good news for a player entering a crowded position group in the final year of his contract. And back in April, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune didn’t see Fuller as part of the Bears’ long term plans, adding he had a hunch Fuller wouldn’t be on the roster when the season begins in September.
Simply put, the numbers aren’t adding up in Fuller’s favor.
The Bears signed three cornerbacks to free agent contracts, with Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper garnering the most attention. So even though the Bears didn’t draft a young player with upside in what was viewed as a draft that was deep at corner, Fuller still finds himself in a crowded field battling for a roster spot – especially after Cre’von LeBlanc starred in the slot and Bryce Callahan was a starter in more than half of the Bears’ games in 2016.
And it’s not as if a shift to safety can save his spot. The Bears added Quintin Demps via free agency and Eddie Jackson in the draft. That tandem joins Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey, who were the team’s primary starters at safety in 2016, as well as Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson and others in a group featuring a ton of young players.
Few players will be watched as intently as the Bears will watch Fuller, who has a lot to prove during training camp. He’s passed early tests during the offseason training program, emerging healthy as the Bears take a six-week hiatus until training camp starts in July. And soon, it will be time for Fuller to prove it on the field and this progress will be worth tracking once it all starts up again in Bourbonnais.