LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears drafted Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller with 14th pick Thursday, the latest move to boost a defense that ranked among the league’s worst last season.
The Bears had needs all over their defense after going 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.
They let Julius Peppers go and signed Jared Allen from Minnesota, the biggest changes this offseason. Many analysts thought Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald would be the best option for the Bears, but the St. Louis Rams grabbed him at No. 13.
Chicago then went for help in the secondary.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Fuller missed time last season because of a sports hernia but was productive when he played. He broke up 10 passes and made two interceptions.
SLIDESHOW: Inside The 2014 NFL Draft
Fuller is not considered an elite athlete, but he makes up for his shortcomings in strength and speed with his instincts.
Chicago also had one pick each in the second and third rounds on Friday (Nos. 51 and 82) along with a fourth-rounder (117) and fifth-rounder (156) along with two sixth-rounders (183 and 191) on Saturday. The Bears do not have a seventh-round pick.
Fuller joins a defense that ranked 30th overall, last against the run and tied Jacksonville with a league-low 31 sacks. The Bears gave up 2,583 yards rushing on 5.3 per carry — both club records — and they still had holes to fill on the line, at linebacker and in the secondary despite a flurry of moves to ensure there’s no replay from last season.
The biggest moves, of course, involved Peppers and Allen with one accomplished pass rusher replacing another.
Peppers, the eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end, signed with Green Bay, hoping to bounce back from a disappointing season.
Allen, a five-time Pro Bowler, agreed to a four-year deal with Chicago that guarantees $15.5 million and could be worth as much as $32 million. He had 11½ sacks last season, reaching double digits in sacks for the seventh straight year, and the Bears are hoping he can help rejuvenate their pass rush and stop the run.
The Bears also added defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Willie Young along with safeties Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings. They brought back cornerback Charles Tillman on a one-year deal, re-signed defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff to a two-year contract and split with safety Major Wright.
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