Hub Arkush: Biggest NFL draft steals in Chicago Bears history
It is frustrating to talk about all of the incredible rookies the Chicago Bears have discovered over the years without including undrafted free agents like Jay Hilgenberg, Leslie Frazier and Dennis McKinnon, but we are focused on the Draft right now and here’s another list will be controversial enough without adding UDFAs to the debate.
After unveiling the Bears all-time Draft Hall of Shame, here is PFW’s top 5 Bears Draft picks of the modern era.
5. S Shaun Gayle — 1984, 10th Round,271st: Gayle is too often overlooked in this discussion, but as an afterthought in the 10th round, he was a valuable backup on the ’85 Super Bowl team and moved into the starting lineup after Dave Duerson left, playing 11 seasons for the Bears, including 92 starts and one Pro Bowl.
4. Doug Plank — 1975 12th Round, 291st: Plank played eight seasons for the Bears and his versatility and unique skill set were the genesis for defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan’s famed 46 defense.
3. Roland Harper — 1975 17th Round, 420th: Imagine having 419 players drafted ahead of you and going on to start five seasons in the NFL with Walter Payton as your running mate and playing seven seasons overall including rushing for 992 yards in 1978 while Walter was adding 1,395. According to urban legend, Ed McCaskey hung around the war room throughout that entire Draft begging Jim Finks to let him make a pick and it was McCaskey who made Harper the final pick of the ’75 Draft.
2. Mark Bortz — 1983 8th Round, 219th: Bortz was a defensive tackle at Iowa, but Finks saw something else and Bortzie went on to start 155 games over 12 seasons as the Bears left guard.
1. Richard Dent 1983 8th Round, 203rd: Do I really need to explain or does being the 203rd player chosen in the Draft before going on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and becoming one of the greatest pass rushers of all time say enough?