Take 2: What does rest of Bears season mean for Kyle Fuller?

SHARE Take 2: What does rest of Bears season mean for Kyle Fuller?

Kyle Fuller is practicing but not yet on the 53-man roster. (AP)

In this week’s edition of ‘Take 2,’ Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times and Kevin Fishbain of Pro Football Weekly discuss what the final four weeks could mean for former first-round pick Kyle Fuller.

Fishbain: Patrick, we’ve spent a lot of time and newspaper space discussing Bears players worth watching in a lost season, and the final month should give an opportunity for another look at Kyle Fuller. How important is this final month for Fuller, and what’s the best route the coaching staff should take with getting him looks while also wanting to see more of Bryce Callahan, Cre’Von LeBlanc and Deiondre’ Hall?

Finley: Here’s why the final month is important, Kevin; by May 3, the Bears must decide whether or not to pick up the fifth-year option for 2018 attached to Fuller as a former first-round pick. Fuller’s done absolutely nothing this year to prove that he’s worthy, but the Bears can’t afford to go discarding young players, either. They seemingly want to make sure he’s healthy before making that evaluation. I’m curious to see how Hall responds, too; he looked good in the preseason but didn’t earn their trust to play meaningful snaps once the games counted. Coach John Fox swears he’ll play the most deserving players, but isn’t that short-sighted? Doesn’t he have to learn what he’s got in Fuller and Hall?

Fishbain: They can be patient with Hall and at least give him looks on special teams in the meantime. Fuller has to get snaps at corner in some games to give them a better opportunity to evaluate. And maybe he’ll show enough to be trade bait, too. The corner taken before Fuller in that 2014 draft, Justin Gilbert, was traded to the Steelers in September. We know Kyle Long will be around for a while, and with Alshon Jeffery’s future uncertain, Fuller is the best chance for another Phil Emery pick to stick around. Unless you think Cornelius Washington or Marquess Wilson is worthy of being re-signed?

Finley: I’d take Cornelius Washington for next season in a heartbeat, Kev. He’s a physical freak who has been consistent as part of the Bears’ defensive line rotation. Nobody writes sonnets about those kinds of guys, but they have real value. Gilbert has been a capital-B bust, relegated to special teams snaps but for 11 plays this year. Fuller can hope for a better future than that, you’d think. What would you do about Wilson, Kevin? He’s been good when he’s been healthy, but, to quote Fox, availability is an ability. And he hasn’t been.

Fishbain: Washington has definitely been a good addition to the D-line and he won’t cost much money, and neither will Wilson, who I’m sure will get a chance to test the market. As a No. 4 receiver, he’s great! He seems to me as someone primed for a one-year, prove-it deal to return just to add depth, but it’s always worth noting that he doesn’t provide anything on special teams like Josh Bellamy or Deonte Thompson. Let’s circle back to the player who is supposed to be the best of the Emery bunch (aside from Jeffery and Long). Would another team in a different scheme want Fuller more than the Bears?

Finley: Fuller was drafted to play Cover 2, and his skill set better fits that than the man coverage that Vic Fangio seems to prefer. If the Bears would rather him keep his eyes on the quarterback, he’d have to move to safety. Which isn’t a bad idea, really. But that’s the Cover-2 Catch-22 here: Fuller probably doesn’t want to do it in a walk year, and the Bears probably wouldn’t want to extend his option if they don’t know what he can do at safety.

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