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ESPN picks a Chicago Bears’ draft class as a top 5 best of all time

IL: Cleveland Browns v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Yesterday we filled you guys in on the Chicago Bears’ ranking in ESPN’s Stacking the worst classes in NFL draft history, but today, we wanted to finish the weekend on a positive note.

The Bears may have had the 6th worst draft class according to ESPN and Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value, but this Bears’ draft class, from 1975, was top 5 best of all time (in the common era).


1st round - Walter Payton, RB, Jackson State

2nd round - Mike Hartenstine, DE, Penn State

4th round - Virgil Livers, DB, Western Kentucky

5th round - Revie Sorey, G, Illinois

6th round - Bob Avellini, QB, Maryland

6th round - Tom Hicks, LB, Illinois

7th round - Earl Douthitt, DB, Iowa

8th round - Joe Harris, LB, Georgia Tech

9th round - Roger Stillwell, DT, Stanford

10th round - Mike Julius, St. Thomas

11th round - Mike Dean, Texas

12th round - Doug Plank, DB, Ohio State

13th round - Charles McDaniel, Louisiana Tech

14th round - Walter Hartfield, Texas State

15th round - Steve Marcantonio, Miami (Fla.)

16th round - Witt Beckman, Miami (Fla.)

17th round - Roland Harper, RB, Louisiana Tech

And here’s what ESPN had to say about Chicago’s 4th ranked, 1975 draft class.

4. 1975 Chicago Bears (473 AV)

This very deep class is headlined by one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, Walter Payton, who would carry the Bears' Super Bowl XX offense a decade later. Defensive end Mike Hartenstine was the other standout from this class. He played for 13 seasons and had eight starts for the '85 championship defense.

The 1965 class was before the common draft era, but it featured Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, who were picked Nos. 3 and No. 4 overall, respectively. But even if we included this group, its 347 AV pales in comparison with the '75 Bears class because of Sayers' and Butkus' relatively short careers.

When a class starts with the greatest football player of all time, it’s bound to have some accolades, but for ESPN to not even mention Doug Plank is a travesty. With no Doug Plank, there may be no 46 defense, meaning there may be no 1985 Bears.