By: Thomas Gibbons
The Bears have been campaigning on Twitter for Jordan Howard and Akiem Hicks to be voted to the Pro-Bowl for several weeks. Howard is among the leagues leading rushers and Hicks is arguably one of the best defensive ends in the NFC. Outside the popularity of these two players, another candidate has emerged from the Bears roster, cornerback Kyle Fuller.
After missing all of 2016 after a knee scope, the Bears declined his fifth-year option, allowing him to become a free agent after the 2017 season. With that news, Fuller’s name was associated with “on the bubble” to make the Bears final roster. With the signings of Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper last offseason, Fuller would have to prove his worth. Well, he undoubtedly has.
“You realize the type of player you are when you can’t do certain things,” Fuller, who missed all of last season after a seemingly simple preseason arthroscopic knee procedure, said Wednesday. “You’re kinda reminded of what exactly you can do — the way you play football. “You’re yourself. It shows you, ‘I know who I am.’ I remember the player I am when you’re able to go out there and be yourself, not injured and worrying about things like that.” – Quote from Fuller in August
Fuller, one of the few remaining players from the Phil Emery era, joined some pretty good company after last Sunday’s win Cincinnati. The former first round pick joined Charles Tillman as the only other Bears defensive player since 1994 to record over 15 passes defended and more than 60 tackles through week 14 of the season.
That is an alarming stat. And that is just how good Fuller has been this season. The former Virginia Tech standout is showing why he was a first round pick. So is he worth the pro-bowl selection? Let’s see how he matches up versus the rest of the NFL.
Casey Heyward, cornerback for the Los Angeles Chargers, leads the league with 19 passes defended. Fuller sits in a four way tie for fourth in the league with 16. In terms of interceptions, Fuller’s rank is low due to only having one on the season. Although, his 64 tackles ranks second among cornerbacks with Raiders TJ Carrie leading the way with 71.
The numbers do not lie. Fuller is statistically one of the best CBs in the NFL in passes defended and tackling. Is that enough for the pro-bowl? Bears fans had their chance to vote and now it is in the hands of the players and coaches to cast theirs. The Pro-Bowl rosters will be announced on December 19th.