What are your favorite Chicago Bears draft moments over the years? I should say “most notable”, because there are more than a few that I certainly remember, but they’re not favorites of mine by any stretch.
I started watching the Bears all the way back in 1979, but the first time I really took note of the draft was in 1982, when I was a fifth grader. The draft wasn’t televised back then, or if it was it was on ESPN in its infancy and my family certainly didn’t have cable at the time. I remember hearing updates on the radio, and was very happy the Bears were able to get Jim McMahon, whom I remember hearing of from lazy Saturday afternoons watching college football on the couch. I didn’t care about college football, mind you, I was just lazy and that’s all that was on the seven channels we had access to back then on Saturdays in the Fall.
In 1985, the one guy I was excited about was Kevin Butler, having watched him kick for Georgia playing alongside Herschel Walker on said lazy Saturdays.
I was busy with school and growing up from 1986-1992 and didn’t follow the draft closely. Even in 1988 and 1989, when due to stupidly letting Wilber Marshall and Willie Gault go, the Bears had 2 (’88) and 3 (’89) picks in the first round. (The Bears felt 3 first-rounders was a little much in 1989, so they actually traded down with the third).
I remember the drama surrounding the Bears’ 11th-overall pick in 1994, when they decided to take DE (LB) John Thierry after Richard Dent refused to meet their terms as a pass-rush specialist. Thierry ended up not being worth it, we’ll remember, despite being compared to Charles Haley by Dave Wannstedt. Even as an old man in the late 1990′s Haley outplayed Thierry.
In 1995, was ecstatic the Bears were in a position to get Rashaan Salaam. Four running backs were chosen before him, including guys like James Stewart and Napoleon Kaufmann. Think those other teams knew something the Bears’ didn’t? Those were the days in which the Bears had like 3 total scouts and Wanny was running the personnel show. And it showed.
1998 was a bad year, despite the Bears still having more players from that draft (2) on their roster in 2009 than they do from the 2005 draft (0). The picks of Tony Parrish (2), Olin Kreutz (3) and Patrick Mannely (6) were great and I liked them, but I threw things at the television when they took Curtis Enis fifth overall. We’ll remember this was after several teams offered Mark Hatley multiple first rounders for the pick. Hatley wanted more, and running his first draft wanted teams to know he could play hardball. Didn’t that work out good for us?
I can honestly say “told you so” about Enis because I am not claiming to be a know-it-all all the time. I jumped with joy over the drafting of Cade McNown in 1999, buying the hype that he was the next McMahon and would puke on the sidelines and go back in to throw touchdowns. Wrong I found out I was after his 2 disappointing seasons. The ’99 draft was a flurry as Hatley traded down and down and down to pick up multiple picks, acquiring solid players like Warrick Holdman, Marty Booker and others in the process. Too bad he squandered the second-rounder by taking DE Russell Davis, who would start many games in ’99 only to be cut the following training camp.
Brian Urlacher was my pick in 2000, and I was excited to hear it from a Wrigleyville bar before I froze at an April Cubs game. I had never heard of Mike Brown when they selected him, wondering why Hatley didn’t take the more-heralded Deon Grant. That one worked out in the end.
I was hoping in 2001 the Bears would land DE Andre Carter, but apparently the rest of the NFL thought the Bears were hoping that too, and San Francisco traded up to take him before the Bears got the chance. I didn’t like the pick of a receiver that year, but was satisfied with David Terrell since some had him being taken as high as third overall. Nice guy, that Terrell.
I could do on and on, but won’t. Hated the Benson pick in 2005. I’ve written it over and over, but an analysis of Benson I had read was “he’s like Rickey Williams, but not as talented.” This was written when Williams was in the middle of one of his many pot-fueled football absences. Benson proved that to be true in Chicago, and actually outdid Williams for arrests (even though charges were dropped on Benson in both cases, I must point out).
Then in the second round in ’05, when Angelo took Mark Bradley, I went running to my draft guide. Out of 100 receivers ranked from first round to free agents, Bradley wasn’t even listed. Of course after 3.5 seasons in Chicago Bradley didn’t pan out. But he looks like he might for the Chiefs.
Since then, nothing the Bears have done in the draft has made me throw things at the television. And I don’t predict that happening tomorrow. How about you?