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Four downs with Mike Ditka

NEW YORK NY - MAY 08:  Kyle Fuller VirginiTech Hokies poses with jersey after he was picked #14 overall

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Kyle Fuller of the Virginia Tech Hokies poses with a jersey after he was picked #14 overall by the Chicago Bears during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 484586175

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Updated: June 12, 2014 6:40AM



1. While it seems the Bears had more of a need at safety and defensive tackle, general manager Phil Emery took cornerback Kyle Fuller, whom he had rated very high. Your thoughts?

I like what he did. I understand needs and wants and everything, but if you have a player rated that high and he’s on your board, you have to take him. This kid’s a good football player. Is he the answer to the safety position? No. But there will be other people in other rounds where they’ll be able to help themselves. They had to get better on defense, especially in a division where Detroit and the Packers both have pretty good offenses.

2. Fuller comes from a football family, with two brothers having played in the NFL. Kyle Long came from a football family. How much does football pedigree play in drafting? Is it something you looked for?

Well, if you are Howie Long’s son, you have a pretty good pedigree, and I would think you would be a good football player. I think there’s something to that, [but] I don’t think it’s the most important thing. You know, there’s a few families that have put several players in the NFL. I always felt that the bloodline counted.

3. Do you think several teams are going to be kicking themselves that they didn’t take Johnny Manziel?

I really don’t care about what those other teams were thinking; I’m happy for Cleveland. Let’s just see in five years whom the better quarterback is, Manziel or Blake Bortles. Just evaluate it. If Bortles is, fine.

But Manziel is in a better position right now because he’s with someone who picked him, who wanted him and who needs a quarterback. The Browns have some good, young players. They have a good, young coach. I think they’re going in the right direction.

I might be wrong, but I think he’s a heckuva football player. This draft was really about one player: Johnny Manziel. Face it, he made this draft. The interest was all about one man.

4. Do you like the whole production surrounding the NFL draft, where viewers can watch the reactions and emotions of young players as they are selected or not selected?

I really don’t. When I was drafted by the Bears, I got a phone call. They said, ‘‘You’ve been drafted by the Bears.’’ I said, ‘‘Oh, really? Good. OK.’’ Then I went up to see Mr. Halas, and we signed a contract.

I understand what the NFL and ESPN are trying to do. It’s a big thing, and they’re trying to create viewership. People like to watch it. They had the camera on Manziel constantly. I think under his breath he might have been saying, ‘‘Well, these dumb son-of-a-guns, they didn’t take me.’’ But I thought he handled it pretty well.



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