Bears fans had to wait a bit before the team took a pass rusher in the 2018 NFL Draft. Only time will tell whether Kylie Fitts was worth the wait.
THE PICK (ROUND 6, PICK 181)
- Name: Kylie Fitts
- College: Utah
- Position: Edge defender
- Age: 23
- Height, weight, hand size, arms: 6-foot-4, 263 pounds, 9-1/2 inches, 33 inches
NEED TO KNOW
- 2017 stats: 8 games, 23 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble.
- Stats from Fitts’ last healthy season (2015): 13 games, 41 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 10 passes defended, four forced fumbles, one blocked field goal.
- Career accomplishments: Invited to the 2018 Senior Bowl.
NFL COMBINE RESULTS
- 40-yard dash: 4.69
- Bench press: 31 reps
- Vertical: 32.5 inches
- Broad jump: 117 inches
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.19 seconds
- 3-cone drill: 6.88 seconds
- 60-yard shuttle: 11.82 seconds
- Elite prospect pedigree with post-hype sleeper potential. Fitts was a four-star recruit, top-100 prospect, and top-12 player at his position coming out of high school. He originally signed with UCLA, but transferred out after a year.
- Has pass-rushing experience as a stand-up rusher and with his hand on the ground, and is also skilled enough to drop into coverage because of his speed.
- High-energy prospect with good instincts who is seemingly always in pursuit of the ball until the whistle blows.
- Fitts is an older prospect who will turn 24 in October.
- Could stand to add strength to his 263-pound frame, which could help in our next bullet point.
- Durability is a concern after an injury-riddled college career. Played just two games in 2016 and eight in 2017. Limited playing time stunted his growth and development as a pass rusher, which ultimately dropped him down draft boards.
NFL.COM PLAYER COMPARISON: Nate Orchard.
WHERE FITTS FITS
The Bears have overhauled their edge defender situation this offseason and Fitts becomes the latest addition. He’ll join newcomer Aaron Lynch, as well as returning players Leonard Floyd, Sam Acho, Isaiah Irving, and Harold Jones. Fitts has the kind of upside that could quickly push him into a key role on the defense and even into a starting job. Staying healthy will be the key to Fitts unlocking his full potential. Then again, we can say that about Floyd and Lynch, too.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had Fitts slotted to go in the fourth or fifth round. For the Bears to land him in the sixth makes me feel like we could view this pick as a steal somewhere down the road.