Elliot Harrison, NFL Media analyst for NFL.com, has looked at the long history of the National Football League to determine the All Time All Rookie Team. As would be expected with a team that has been around since the NFL was founded in 1920, the Chicago Bears have placed the most players on the team, with six.
Back in 1920 the Bears were known as the Decatur Staleys, but they, along with the Chicago Cardinals, are the only two franchises that still play football to this day. The Chicago Cardinals now reside in Arizona, but their franchise didn't place anyone on the All Time All Rookie Team. In fact, the Bears were far and away the team that had the most players making an appearance.
No other team had more than two players make it.
If you combine the players from the other NFC North teams that were named All Time All Rookie, that still won't equal the six of the Bears.
Here are the six Chicago Bears that made the team.
Running back: Beattie Feathers 1934
Feathers might not be a household name, but his 1,004 rushing yards in 1934 marked the first time an NFL running back had ever hit four digits in a season. Feathers' breakaway runs had much to do with the Bears making their second straight NFL Championship Game appearance.
Toughest competition: Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Earl Campbell, Ottis Anderson, George Rogers, Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James.
Crossing the thousand yard threshold was a milestone, but he did it on only 119 carries, for an astounding 8.4 yards per carry. He added eight rushing touchdowns, one receiving TD and he even threw for two scores.
Tight end: Mike Ditka 1961
Ditka was a stud right out of the gate for the Bears. The big Pittsburgh product had good speed and a bulldozer's mentality, parlaying that ability into the first 1,000-yard season by a tight end in NFL history. He was the original Gronk.
Toughest competition: Nobody.
That last line says it all.
Offensive guard: Danny Fortmann 1936
Fortmann immediately established himself as a stalwart up front when George Halas inserted him into the lineup in 1936. The amazing thing about the former Colgate star is that he was only 20 years old. Fortmann would be named First-Team All-Pro six of his eight pro seasons.
Toughest competition: John "Socko" Wiethe, Gene Upshaw, Joe DeLamielleure, Jonathan Ogden (started at guard as a rookie).
Fortmann was a 9th round draft pick and, if you were to believe the legend, he was George Halas' final draft pick only because he liked his name. The 6', 210 pound two-way lineman was an NFL Hall Of Famer in the Class of 1965.
Middle linebacker: Dick Butkus 1965
With apologies to Jack Lambert, Butkus' rookie campaign was the stuff of legend. The tackling machine out of Illinois teamed with running back Gale Sayers to form the best rookie combo in league history. Butkus decimated opponents, so much so that even though his team wasn't very good, no one wanted to play the Bears. Or, their ribs didn't, anyway.
Toughest competition: Jack Lambert, Matt Millen, John Offerdahl, Chris Spielman, Patrick Willis.
Butkus was also drafted by the AFL's Denver Broncos, but there was no way a South Side kid that went to Chicago Vocational High School and attended the University of Illinois was going to pass on a chance to play in Chicago. Even though he grew up a Chicago Cardinals fan.
FYI, the Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960.
Safety: Mark Carrier 1990
Carrier is another player people seem to have forgotten, but he had one of the best rookie seasons ever in 1990. Carrier forced an astounding 15 turnovers that year (10 interceptions and five forced fumbles). Not surprisingly, he made the Pro Bowl as a rook. Carrier would play 10 more years in the league, but he only picked off 22 more passes. Still, you can't question his initial foray into the NFL.
Toughest competition: Emlen Tunnell, Mel Renfro, Ken Houston, Tommy Casanova, Bennie Blades, Steve Atwater, Ed Reed, Jairus Byrd.
That 1990 team went 11-5, winning the NFC Central, but losing in the divisional round of the playoffs to the New York Giants. Besides the stats mentioned above, Carrier also recovered two fumbles and racked up 122 tackles in 1990.
Returner: Devin Hester 2006
Hester scored five touchdowns as a rookie returner (three on punts, two on kicks). He deserves plenty of credit for helping the Rex Grossman-led Bears reach the Super Bowl. Ah, yes -- and then he took the opening kick of Super Bowl XLI 92 yards to the house.
Toughest competition: Gale Sayers, Patrick Peterson.
There isn't any mention of the other return TD that Hester scored in 2006, the missed field goal that he brought back 108 yards against the Giants.
What are your thoughts on their All Time All Rookie Team?
Any other Bear rookie seasons that you feel should have made the list?