Momentous Bears Drafts (Part 1)

This is a two-part series looking back at the drafts of the Chicago Bears. This series will take into account the drafts from 1998 until 2006. I realize that I could have looked farther into history and taken a broad approach to this, but this way, both the young'ns and the old-timers on this blog can relate and discuss these drafts.

In this first part of the series, we're going to review the best draft in Bears history: 

2006

Pick #

Round

Player

1

2

Danieal Manning, DB, Abilene Christian

2

2

Devin Hester, WR, Miami

3

3

Dusty Dvoracek, DT, Oklahoma

4

4

Jamar Williams, LB, Arizona State

5

5

Mark Anderson, DE, Alabama

6

6

J.D. Runnels, FB, Oklahoma

7

6

Tyler Reed, G, Penn State

 

2006 was hands-down the best top-to-bottom draft that the Bears have had throughout this time period. Other drafts may have had impact players (2000 with Brian Urlacher, etc.), but top-to-bottom, this class has exceeded any expectations set by the pundits.

 

Manning_medium

Danieal Manning, FS
Selection #: 42 (2nd round)
College: Abilene Christian

Season

Team

Tackles

Interceptions

Fumbles

G

GS

Total

Solo

Ast

Sck

SFTY

PDef

Int

Yds

Avg

Lng

TDs

FUM

Lost

2007

Chicago Bears

16

15

79

68

11

0.0

--

6

2

33

16.5

33

0

--

--

2006

Chicago Bears

16

14

67

51

16

0.0

--

5

2

26

13.0

15

0

--

--

TOTAL

146

119

27

0.0

0

11

4

59

--

33

0

0

0

 

Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith again reverted to drafting good players from obscure colleges (see Chris Harris: Louisiana-Monroe and Charles Tillman: Louisiana-Lafayette), and to this point, the experiment has worked. In 2006, he forced five fumbles and became another in the line of Bears DB's to record an interception in his debut (Manning did it against Favre, Dwayne Joseph against Minnesota in 1995). He recorded 80 tackles in his rookie campaign and bounced that number higher in 2007 with 98. 

Hester_medium

Devin Hester, WR/KR/PR
Selection #: 57 (2nd round)
College: Miami (Fla.)

Kick Return

Year

Team

G

Ret

Yds

Avg

Lng

TD

20+

40+

FC

FUM

2007

Chicago Bears

16

43

934

21.7

97T

2

20

2

0

2

2006

Chicago Bears

16

20

528

26.4

96T

2

12

2

0

2

TOTAL

32

63

1,462

23.2

97

4

32

4

0

4

Punt Return

Year

Team

G

Ret

RetY

Avg

Lng

TD

20+

40+

FC

FUM

2007

Chicago Bears

16

42

651

15.5

89T

4

10

4

6

5

2006

Chicago Bears

16

47

600

12.8

84T

3

11

4

12

6

TOTAL

32

89

1,251

14.1

89

7

21

8

18

11

In our second selection of the second round, we took Devin Hester, who mostly was an overlooked player that everyone knew was quick but did not have a set position. The one person who did not overlook Hester's skill set was Floyd Reese, the GM of the Titans until 2006. With the 45th selection in the 2006 draft, the Tennessee Titans selected.....LenDale White. Someone else within the organization wanted to get their hands on White, who had a very questionable work ethic, was out-of-shape, and excelled at USC mostly because he was a product of the system. While Reese was probably getting set to have an aneurysm, the Bears were patiently waiting at selection #57 for their guy. Thankfully, the err of their judgment gave us Hester on a silver platter, and this year, he should cement himself stat-wise as the best returner in league history.  

Dvoracek_medium

Dusty Dvoracek, DT
Selection #: 73 (3rd round)
College: Oklahoma

Season

Team

Tackles

Interceptions

Fumbles

G

GS

Total

Solo

Ast

Sck

SFTY

PDef

Int

Yds

Avg

Lng

TDs

FUM

Lost

2007

Chicago Bears

1

1

2

1

1

0.0

--

0

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

2006

Chicago Bears

0

0

0

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

TOTAL

2

1

1

0.0

0

0

0

0

--

0

0

0

0

 

When Dusty Dvoracek has played, he's been an absolute beast. However, injuries have spoiled his playing time. In 2006, he made it until August 28th, when he suffered a foot injury. Hopes were high in 2007, but he went down in the season opener against the Chargers with a knee injury. He's a tough individual, but many Bears fans are holding their breath to see if he can make it through a season uninjured. If he does, he'll be an excellent addition to the club.

Williams_medium

Jamar Williams, LB
Selection #: 120 (4th round)
College: Arizona State

Season

Team

Tackles

Interceptions

Fumbles

G

GS

Total

Solo

Ast

Sck

SFTY

PDef

Int

Yds

Avg

Lng

TDs

FUM

Lost

2007

Chicago Bears

16

1

30

22

8

1.0

--

2

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

2006

Chicago Bears

3

0

2

2

0

0.0

--

1

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

TOTAL

32

24

8

1.0

0

3

0

0

--

0

0

0

0

 

Jamar Williams was being readied during training camp last year to start at the Will during Lance Briggs' first hissy, only to have Briggs return. In the times that he's had to fill in for Briggs, he's been solid. His first season was cut short due to a chest injury, but he rebounded nicely in the 2007 campaign. On top of being a top reserve linebacker, he's also been a key member of the special teams unit. Another year of spotty playing time at  linebacker is in store for Williams, but if Briggs goes down with a season-ending injury, Williams will fill in admirably.

Anderson_medium

Mark Anderson, DE
Selection #: 159 (5th round)
College: Alabama

Season

Team

Tackles

Interceptions

Fumbles

G

GS

Total

Solo

Ast

Sck

SFTY

PDef

Int

Yds

Avg

Lng

TDs

FUM

Lost

2007

Chicago Bears

14

14

31

25

6

5.0

--

1

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

2006

Chicago Bears

16

1

28

23

5

12.0

--

2

--

--

0.0

--

--

--

--

TOTAL

59

48

11

17.0

0

3

0

0

--

0

0

0

0

 

Mark Anderson was (with Hester) one of the most pleasant surprises from the 2006 draft. He registered 12 sacks and finished second in the NFL Defensive Rookie race. However, he lost his job to Alex Brown in 2007, and teams recognized that he's not great against the run, thus he only registered five sacks last season. As a situational pass rusher, he's been fantastic for the Bears. Once he fully learns how to defend the run, he'll be less of a one-trick pony and become a complete (and dominant) DE.

Runnels_medium 

J.D. Runnels, FB
Selection #: 195 (6th round)
College: Oklahoma

Season

Team

Rushing

Receiving

Fumbles

G

GS

Att

Yds

Avg

Lng

TD

Rec

Yds

Avg

Lng

TD

FUM

Lost

2006

Chicago Bears

2

0

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

TOTAL

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

0

0

 

Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith again continue their trend of picking players from the University of Oklahoma. As a Texas Longhorns fan, I had the torture pleasure of watching Runnels play for Oklahoma (our archrival). To say that he was part of the reason AP did so well in college is a great understatement. He did not play much except for a bit at the end of his rookie season when Jason McKie went down with an injury. Unfortunately, when healthy, we have a grizzled veteran (McKie) at that position, so he was let go by the organization. 

Reed_medium

Tyler Reed, G
Selection #: 200 (6th round)
College: Penn State

Tyler Reed was signed to a four year contract after being drafted, but was waived and resigned to a two-year contract and hasn't been off the practice squad since. We haven't seen or heard anything from Reed since, which is not a good sign. If he can't crack this rotation, he will soon be a training camp causality. The only weak pick in the draft class, but the chances of striking gold in the 6th round are about as great as Brett Favre attending the Packer's Christmas party this year.

Runner Up: 2004

Tommie_harris_medium
 

Pick #

Round

Player

1

1

Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma

2

2

Tank Johnson, DT, Washington

3

3

Bernard Berrian, WR, Fresno State

4

4

Nathan Vasher, DB, Texas

5

4

Leon Joe, LB, Maryland

6

5

Claude Harriott, DE, Pittsburgh

7

5

Craig Krenzel, QB, Ohio State

8

7

Alfonso Marshall, CB, Miami (Fla.)

 

The first four picks of this draft were star-studded. Tommie Harris has been a mainstay in the trenches while he's healthy. Tank Johnson was a great DT until he decided various high-powered weaponry was more his thing. We just lost Berrian, who was our lone deep threat. Vasher has teamed up nicely with Charles Tillman to form one of the top-tier NFL corner tandems. If one or two of the bottom four draft picks had developed into solid starters, this draft class would have been in the running for the top spot.

Third Place: 1999

Mcnown_medium  

Pick #

Round

Player

1

1

Cade McNown, QB, UCLA

2

2

Russell Davis, DE, North Carolina

3

3

Rex Tucker, T, Texas A&M

4

3

D'Wayne Bates, WR, Northwestern

5

3

Marty Booker, WR, Louisiana-Monroe

6

4

Warrick Holdman, LB, Texas A&M

7

4

Rosevelt Colvin, LB, Purdue

8

5

Jerry Wisne, G, Notre Dame

9

5

Khari Samuel, LB, Massachusetts

10

5

Jerry Azumah, DB, New Hampshire

11

6

Rashard Cook, DB, USC

12

7

Sulecio Sanford, WR, Middle Tenn. State

13

7

Jim Finn, RB, Pennsylvania

 

Holy draft picks....13 in total, and the Bears didn't end up too bad. Positive gains can be attributed to Tucker, Bates, Booker, Holdman, Colvin, and Azumah. The reason that this draft class was not ranked higher is because of Cade McNown, which was a huge whiff. I was only 13 years old at the time, and I can still remember the sting of the next season. However, we gained two linebackers who would join Brian Urlacher after the following draft to form a formidable linebacker tandem. Azumah was a decent KR/PR for us, as well as a solid corner. Booker has done well for himself, mostly in a Bears uniform. Tucker was on the OL that swept us through the 2003 playoff campaign. McNown brings this class down, but unless McNown had turned into a franchise QB, it still would have finished second to the excellent top-to-bottom draft of 2006.

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