GM Phil Emery says Charles Tillman not moving to safety

Written By BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter Posted: 05/09/2014, 08:22pm

One day after saying first-round draft pick Kyle Fuller won’t be converted from cornerback to safety, Bears general manager Phil Emery said the same about Charles Tillman.

‘‘You can rule that out 100 percent,’’ Emery said Friday. ‘‘Charles Tillman is our starting corner, and that’s where he’s gonna be.’’

Fuller, whom the Bears selected 14th overall Thursday out of Virginia Tech and introduced Friday at Halas Hall, plays the same position as Tillman and Tim Jennings, who signed a four-year extension days after last season ended.

Emery said he didn’t clear the pick with his veteran corners — ‘‘It’s rare that you do,’’ he said — but knows they’ll be excited about Fuller.

‘‘He’ll probably have more than one mentor to help him through the process,’’ Emery said. ‘‘And what’s exciting about that is Kyle’s the type of person who can accept mentoring. It takes a certain level of maturity to let others reach out and help along the way, and Kyle is certainly that type of person.’’

Fuller figures to be the Bears’ nickel back in 2014 but could move outside if the team and Tillman decide to part ways when Tillman’s one-year deal expires. Fuller said he heard from Jennings, quarterback Jay Cutler, guard Kyle Long, defensive tackle Nate Collins and others on his first day with the franchise.

‘‘I’m definitely looking forward to coming in and being behind those guys and learning from them,’’ he said of Tillman and Jennings.

Fuller will get a lot of playing time, assuming he beats out Isaiah Frey and Kelvin Hayden. Coach Marc Trestman said the Bears need him against schemes that feature three- and four-receiver sets.

‘‘It’s lot of what we see,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘We’ve got some tremendous offensive players throughout this division, and certainly Kyle gives us the versatility because he can play inside and outside and cover so much of the types of players that we’re seeing — the big player, the long player, now the [tight end Eric] Ebrons of the world.’’

Detroit Lions draftee Ebron’s size and athleticism make him a tough cover for corners and safeties. He had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown for North Carolina against Fuller’s Hokies last season.

‘‘I feel like I’m a bigger corner,’’ Fuller said. ‘‘I’m able to match up against those bigger receivers and tight ends.’’


Twitter: @patrickfinley

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