Arkush: Fuller right guy at right time

Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Chicago Bears as the 14th pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) (Craig Ruttle)

Kyle Fuller is a nice pick for the Bears at 14, but the selection raises as many questions as it answers.

We will be left to wonder what Phil Emery would have done had the Rams not selected Aaron Donald one spot ahead of the Bears.

I would like to think they would have taken Fuller anyway, as I had him quite a bit higher on my board than Donald, but I was also was in a very small minority that felt that way.

I’ve detailed in this space on several occasions my belief that the Bears don’t have a need at tackle after addressing it with Jeremiah Ratliff, Nate Collins and Lamarr Houston along with Stephen Paea.

Yes, they bill Houston as a right end but that is now Jared Allen’s spot, and if any among Willie Young, Izzy Idonije, David Bass, Trevor Scott, Austen Lane or Cornelius Washington (clearly all of them won’t make the team) are to get snaps at left end, Houston has to be a three-technique.

Donald might have made the Bears a better defense down the road, but he did not improve the team this season.

Fuller can.

The more interesting impact of the Fuller pick was delivered seven picks later in the first round when the Packers selected Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Both teams have screaming needs at safety. The Packers got one of the two best and possibly the best safety in the draft.

The Bears got a cornerback. Or did they?

Do a little homework and you will learn that Kyle Fuller has experience at Safety at Virginia Tech.

Read as many scouting reports on as many corners as you can and you will learn that Fuller was viewed as the most physical of the bunch and the most likely to stick his head in and make a tackle. More than that, he has been known on more than one occasion to blow people up.

Phil Emery told us two weeks ago that he’d instructed his scouting department and coaches to study hard on cornerbacks who might convert to safety.

Immediately following the pick, when asked about Fuller playing safety, Emery said “We view him as a cornerback.”

After surprising many by drafting Shea McClellin as a defensive end in 2012, a number of analysts including yours truly said if they think he’s a 4-3 end this is a mistake, but if the fallback plan is to move him to his natural position, which is probably Mike Linebacker, it could work out.

Emery steadfastly insisted McClellin was an end and there was no fallback plan. Just two seasons later, he is a linebacker, although probably still out of position at the Sam instead of the Mike.

The difference with Fuller is I think he can do both and I don’t think the Bears project him as a safety.

I think Emery believes that Fuller will be his No. 1 cornerback in the near future.

But I also think that on opening day against the Buffalo Bills in four months, Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman and Kyle Fuller will all be in the starting secondary.

Whether Tillman or Fuller is playing safety remains to be seen. We know Tillman doesn’t want to make the move.

The rookie Fuller will do whatever he’s asked to get on the field. He will play safety and he will play it well until one of the corner spots opens up for him.

Clinton-Dix also will be starting at safety for the Green Bay Packers on opening day.

And, as if the Bears-Packers rivalry needed one more twist to get the venom flowing, the performances of Fuller and Clinton-Dix will be compared on nearly a weekly basis for as long as they remain a Bear and a Packer.

All of that aside, the Bears got a very good football player who fits at 14 in the first round and that’s all you can really ask.

• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Chicago Football. He can be reached at harkush@chicagofootball.com or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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