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Top ten Chicago Bears draft picks since 1995: Part 1

Julius Peppers is one of the ten best Chicago Bears since 1995, but he was not drafted by the team, so he will not be on this list.

Julius Peppers is one of the ten best Chicago Bears since 1995, but he was not drafted by the team, so he will not be on this list.

We are in that long, dull time of the offseason when the draft is over, free agency has (mostly) ended, and football is still too far away.  What is a die-hard NFL fan to do?  I’m so glad you asked!

Borrowing from WCSN’s own Michael Helton, I thought it would be fun to stir some conversation and debate by ranking draft picks.  Michael ranked the top ten draft picks in Carolina Panthers history.  Since the Panthers have been around since 1995, I thought I would make my job a little easier by ranking Chicago Bears draft picks over that same time span.

Before we begin, here are a few caveats:

Does Danieal Manning deserve to be in the top 10 over somebody else?

Does Danieal Manning deserve to be in the top 10 over somebody else?

Some Chicago Bears stars from recent years were not drafted by the team, and are therefore not eligible for this list.  That includes stars like Julius Peppers, Brandon Marshall, and Thomas Jones, as well as solid offensive linemen like John Tait and Ruben Brown.  Stalwart kicker Robbie Gould is also ineligible because he was not drafted by the Bears.

There were several players who just missed the cut, including Marty Booker, Marc Colombo, Alex Brown, Danieal Manning*, and Greg Olsen*.  All of these have been good players in the NFL, but were/are just a step below the ten who will be featured.  Additionally, no players from the 2011 or later draft classes have shown that they clearly belong on this list, but some of them may end up being better than some of the lower guys on this list.  It is too early to tell.

Let’s quit wasting time.  To the top ten! (Note: an * indicates the player is still active.)

10. Bobby Engram, wide receiver

The tenth spot on this list was a difficult choice between many candidates, but Engram gets the nod for his long and surprisingly productive career.  Engram managed to stick around in the NFL for 15 years after Chicago drafted him in the second round in 1996.  He only had one 1,000-yard receiving season and never made the Pro Bowl but finished with respectable numbers: 650 catches, 7,751 yards (94th in NFL history), and 35 touchdowns.  Additionally, Engram contributed on special teams, where he returned two punts for touchdowns.  Engram was not a spectacular player by any means, but he was a good contributor for a long time.

Henry Melton has been a very good defensive tackle the last two years.

Henry Melton has been a very good defensive tackle the last two years.

9. Henry Melton*, defensive tackle

Henry Melton’s inclusion in this list is based more on potential than anything, as his career is still in its earlier stages.  The Bears grabbed Melton in the fourth round in the 2009 draft, but he did not see much action his first two years because he was still in the process of learning defensive tackle position after being a running back and defensive end in college. Although Melton has only played in 45 games, he has been highly effective, compiling 15.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.  Melton truly came into his own in 2012, when he earned his first Pro Bowl selection.  If he continues to play at a high level, he could find himself higher on this list in five years.

8. Mike Brown, safety

The Chicago Bears selected safety Mike Brown in the second round of the 2000 draft, and he went on to play ten seasons in the NFL, nine with Chicago.  In that time, he appeared in 116 games and compiled 616 tackles, seven sacks, eight forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, 20 interceptions, and four defensive touchdowns.  Brown was named to the Pro Bowl once and was a first team all-NFL selection in 2001.

Matt Forte will go down as one of the best Chicago Bears running backs.

Matt Forte will go down as one of the best Chicago Bears running backs.

7. Matt Forte*, running back

Forte has been one of the most consistent running backs in the NFL since the Chicago Bears grabbed him in the second round of the 2008 draft.  He has started 75 of a possible 80 games, amassing 7,652 yards from scrimmage—good enough for second in franchise history—and 35 touchdowns. Never viewed as a truly elite running back (he only has one Pro Bowl berth), Forte has been able to do it all for the Bears and should end his career as the third best running back the team have ever field. There is no shame in trailing Walter Payton and Gale Sayers.

6. Tommie Harris, defensive tackle

Tommie Harris had the potential to be higher, but injuries derailed a promising career.  After the Chicago Bears drafted him in the first round in 2004, Harris was named to the Pro Bowl three of his first four seasons in the NFL.  Nagging hamstring and attitude problems limited his effectiveness after that, but Harris still played eight seasons, finishing with 226 tackles, 31.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, seven fumbles recovered, and one interception.

More to come

So there you have it, the sixth through tenth best players drafted by the Chicago Bears since 1995.  Stay tuned for the top five, which should be coming soon!

What do you think of my list so far?  Who do you think will be in the top five?  Are there players I excluded who should have been included over some of these guys?  Let me know in the comments below!

1181 comments
Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

livefyre is shitting the bed

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

"I am going to say we are going to the Super Bowl because I am competitive and that is what I want for the team and it is one of the goals."

-Nick Fairley

JVince 11
JVince 11

Yikes... I spent over $2K of company money last month... 

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

I see what the problem is. This article has no women. We need women to get our blood flowing in the morning.

bp.
bp.

Allison Brie's real last name is horrible.  Schermerhorn.  Sometimes a change is necessary.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

It's looking like most teams are starting their rookie mini camps on Friday. Maybe there will be some nuggets to sustain our thirst for anything NFL.


MIBearFan
MIBearFan

It's the LKP effect. It's infected the team.

JVince 11
JVince 11

@MI - BearFan (the dash don't be silent) She looks like she hasn't eaten in weeks... I think what she is actually yelling is....


"I JUST WANT A FUCKING CORNDOG!!! EVEN IF IT IS SKINNY AS HELL LIKE MY FINGER IS!!! JUST ONE CORNDOG PLEASE!!!!"

JVince 11
JVince 11

@___bp___ Allison Schermerhorn....


yup... i'd still hit it... or watch it run nude on a jog across campus

bp.
bp.

@Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe I think this may be true.  NBA is a young man's name.  Spurs have held on for a long time, and Timmy can still be great, but youth is showing in that one.  

That said, Ginobli went cold last night or we might have seen another comeback.  Live by the crazy south american, die by the crazy south american.

bp.
bp.

@JVince 11 She's basically perfect for the gay man who has not yet admitted it to himself.

bp.
bp.

@Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe @___bp___ Don't forget the big, ugly aussie.  Its important to hvae a block of huge white man on your team when facing the man with the best inside game in the NBA.