Darron Cummings, AP
Utah defensive lineman Kylie Fitts runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Kylie Fitts was taken by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the NFL Draft Saturday afternoon. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end from San Bernardino, California, was the 181st pick overall.

"I was a little surprised to go that late, but I'm excited just to be a Bear. All I wanted was an opportunity,” Fitts told chicagobears.com. “I knew with my injury history, teams were going to be a little scared, but I know the Bears are a good team, and they're going to get a great player out of me.":

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham agrees.

"I'm very happy for him. Kylie's a talent," he said. "I think the reason he lasted until the sixth round was because he was banged up quite a bit at Utah. Had he been healthier more of the time, to me, he was a second or third round value."

Fitts played 25 games over three seasons for Utah, netting 78 tackles (14 for loss). He began his collegiate career at UCLA in 2013 — appearing in six games for the Bruins as a freshman — before transferring. He redshirted in 2014 and began playing for the Utes in 2015. Fitts made an immediate impact. He played in all 13 games, making 11 starts, while racking up some impressive numbers.

Fitts led the Pac-12 with four forced fumbles. In addition, he topped the Utes with seven sacks and was second on the team with 10 pass breakups.

An injury hampered the encore. Fitts had three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in two games the following season. In 2017, Fitts returned to play in 10 games, finishing with 23 tackles and three sacks.

Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley said via Twitter that the Bears were getting an “absolute stud” in Fitts.

“Dude has faced adversity time and time again and battled back,” Scalley noted. “A ton of athleticism matched with an unconquerable spirit.”

Fitts was one of four former Utes invited to last month’s NFL Scouting Combine. The others were wide receiver Darren Carrington II, defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei, and offensive guard Salesi Uhatafe.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @DirkFacer