Apologies for the lengthy title of this article, but I just wanted to be clear what I was trying to achieve here. I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of Chicago's first round draft picks, and see if they lived up to the hype, and what has become of them now. Would be good to hear your memories and thoughts of these players too. Hit the jump to get things started.
1. 1990 - Mark Carrier. The Bears defensive back was chosen sixth overall, and spent six seasons in the windy city before playing for the Lions and finishing up in Washington for the 2000 season. In 1990 he won the defensive rookie of the year award after leading the league with 10 interceptions. Carrier was also voted to three pro bowls, all of them coming when he was with the Bears.
He went on to coach the defensive backs at Arizona State University, before the Baltimore Ravens hired him as their secondary coach in 2006. He then bounced to the Jets as a defensive line coach, and is currently coaching the defensive backs again, this time with the Bengals.
2. 1991 - Stan Thomas. Offensive tackle Thomas was drafted by the Bears with the 22nd overall pick. He played his college football at Texas University and spent two years with the Bears and two more with the Houston Oilers. I think it would be fair to say that this was one of the worst draft choices the Bears organization has ever made.
To make matters worse, in 1992 Thomas was seriously injured when he was the victim of a drive-by shooting. And In 2004 he was arrested on suspicion of raping a 21-year old female while she was unconscious. I have not been able to find out what came of that charge, so if anyone knows, please fill us in.
All in all, Stan Thomas is definitely a player worth forgetting.
3. 1992 - Alonzo Spellman. Also taken 22nd overall, Spellman was a defensive lineman out of Ohio State. He played for the Bears between 1992 and 1997, starting every game but one in his first five seasons, finishing with 30 sacks.
He was absent from football for several years, before resurfacing in 2006 with Arena League outfit, the Las Vegas Gladiators. Spellman then dabbled with mixed martial arts, and won a fight with Antoine Hayes at an event in Chicago in 2006.
Spellman was another player who seemed to find himself in trouble away from the field. In 2003, he was jailed for 18 months after an incident on an aircraft. And in 2008 he was arrested by police on Oklahoma after a 20-minute car chase. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during his time with the Cowboys and Lions.
Check out this video from 2006 about Spellman.
3. 1993 - Curtis Conway. A wide receiver who played his college ball at USC, Conway was taken with the 7th overall pick. He was with Chicago between 1993 and 1999 and had 31 touchdown receptions during his time there. He had a big year in 1995, finishing the year with 12 TDs. For the last four years of his career he played for the Chargers, Jets and 49ers. He ended his time in the NFL with 8,230 receiving yards.
He has gone on to work in broadcasting, and in 2007 he married female boxer Laila Ali, with whom he has two children.
4. 1994 - John Thierry. The tall defensive end was drafted 11th overall by the Bears, and played in the windy city until 1998. From there he went on to play for the Browns and the Packers, before finishing his career in Atlanta. He played most games during his time with the Bears, but never had more than four sacks in a season. He subsequently went on to produce better numbers with Cleveland, registering seven sacks in 1999, and six with Green Bay in 2000.
The Bears obviously had high hopes for Thierry (as they did for all the players mentioned here), but it would not be unkind to say that Thierry never really got close to fulfilling those hopes.
5. 1995 - Rashaan Salaam. Chosen 21st overall, Salaam won the Heisman trophy in 1994 whilst at Colorado University. He was a good sized back, and was also an All-American in 1994. He played just three seasons with the Bears, and in his rookie year he rushed for 1,074 yards. He never came close to this again, either in his time with the Bears or in Cleveland, after he joined them in 1999. However, he only had one rushing attempt with the Browns, and finally ended his career on the Packer's roster.
Salaam did play some XFL football (remember that?!) with the Memphis Maniax in 2001, tried and failed to make the 49ers roster in 2003, and repeated the same in 2004 with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL.
In 2011, it was reported that he auctioned off his Heisman ring for $8,140.
According to this Chicago Tribune article, Salaam is currently running a camp for young athletes in San Diego.
So, what are your thoughts on the players mentioned here? Any memories that stand out? Let us know, and check the links below.
In terms of on the field contributions, who was the best Chicago Bear out of these six players?
Mark Carrier (250 votes)
Stan Thomas (0 votes)
Alonzo Spellman (14 votes)
Curtis Conway (95 votes)
John Thierry (3 votes)
Rashaan Salaam (2 votes)
364 total votes