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Bears' Kyle Fuller Has Much To Prove In 3rd Season

By Chris Emma--

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) -- While the Bears wait to see what edge rusher Leonard Floyd can become and how receiver Kevin White performs, there's another young first-round pick striving for his potential.

Now entering his third NFL season, cornerback Kyle Fuller has yet to look like a first-rounder. He finally showed flashes of consistency toward the end of 2015, but his progress hasn't come as quickly as many had hoped.

"We always look for them to spike the second year we have them," Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell said of Fuller. "He's getting used to new group of coaches, a new system. Right now, he's on the path to keep improving."

The 24-year-old Fuller has six career interceptions, just two of which came in the 2015. He will start at cornerback for the Bears this season and is being asked to lead a secondary that failed to consistently take away the football last season. He knows that must change if Chicago's defense is to perform at a high level.

"Takeaways are always a big focus for us in the defensive backfield," Fuller said.

During this busy offseason, the Bears left their secondary largely the same. Fuller and Tracy Porter project as starters, Bryce Callahan will serve the nickel role and Adrian Amos will start at safety, likely alongside Harold Jones-Quartey.

Donatell must coach up this young secondary and try to find results. A bolstered front seven should help create opportunities, but it's up to the secondary to take advantage.

"It's a big challenge, but it's a lot of fun," Donatell said of coaching his unit. "These guys are so willing and wide open to learning. They work together. We're going to have an energy of us all working together."

Fuller will be the focus of this Bears secondary. He must prove worthy of his status as a first-round pick and become a more consistent player.

The Bears would be thrilled if Fuller could show he's a top cornerback. Continuity with Donatell can only help.

"It gives yo that comfort level going into the second year," said Fuller. "You grow together."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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