With the NFL draft imminent, the Chicago Bears are finalizing their plans for the 14th overall pick. Based on history, what are their chances of landing a difference-maker?
14th Overall Picks Since 1980
2013 – Star Lotulelei – DT – Utah
Helped the Carolina Panthers go from 14th to 2nd in run defense his rookie season and posted three sacks.
2012 – Michael Brockers – DT – LSU
Aside from one or two flashes every few weeks he hasn’t really been consistent for the St. Louis Rams despite frequent one-on-one chances.
2011 – Robert Quinn – DE – North Carolina
Reached his first Pro Bowl in 2013 while leading the league in sacks. Has 34.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in three seasons.
2010 – Earl Thomas – S – Texas
A three-time All-Pro safety who commanded the suffocating Seattle Seahawks defense en route to a Super Bowl title last season.
2009 – Malcolm Jenkins – CB – Ohio State
Helped the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl as a rookie but continues to suffer from bouts of inconsistency, resulting in his departure from the team.
2008 – Chris Williams – OT – Vanderbilt
Early injury problems dogged his stay in Chicago. He later made a serviceable living as a guard but is now with his third team in Buffalo
2007 – Darrelle Revis – CB – Pittsburgh
In reaching five Pro Bowls, Darrelle Revis was the best corner in the league for a long stretch. Many think he still is but a knee injury has landed him in foggy territory.
2006 – Brodrick Bunkley – DT – Florida State
He never became a breakout starter for the Philadelphia Eagles and has since become a journey backup now on his third team.
2005 – Thomas Davis – FS – Georgia
A safety in college, he converted to linebacker in Carolina and was plagued by three ACL tears. Hasn’t played a full season since 2008.
2004 – Tommie Harris – DT – Oklahoma
Chicago Bears fans fondly remember Tommie Harris as a dominant interior pass rusher who reached three Pro Bowls before a knee injury largely robbed him of a longer career.
2003 – Michael Haynes – DE – Penn State
A notorious NFL draft whiff by the Bears who spent just four seasons as a pro and had just 5.5 sacks in that time span.
2002 – Jeremy Shockey – TE – Miami
A wicked talented pass catcher early in his career, Jeremy Shockey went to four Pro Bowls and helped the Giants and Saints win championships.
2001 – Kenyatta Walker – OT – Florida
TampaBay hoped he could play left tackle but ended up on the right side. He started 73 games for them and was a part of their Super Bowl run in 2002.
2000 – Bubba Franks – TE – Miami
After a tough rookie year Bubba Franks broke out to reach three Pro Bowls for the Packers before injuries did their damage.
1999 – John Tait – OT – BYU
Though he never reached Pro Bowl status, John Tait was a reliable tackle who played on the left and right sides for nine season, including five with the Chicago Bears.
1998 – Jason Peter – DE – Nebraska
Nobody ever got to see what Jason Peter could really become. Chronic neck problems forced him to retire after just four seasons.
1997 – Reinard Wilson – DE – Florida State
Another in a serious of NFL draft blunders by the Bengals in the 1990s. Wilson started just 23 games in six seasons and had 24 sacks.
1996 – Eddie George – RB – Ohio State
A Rookie of the Year and four-time Pro Bowler, he helped the Titans to the Super Bowl in 1999, ran for over 10,000 yards and scored 78 touchdowns.
1995 – Ruben Brown – OG – Pittsburgh
One of the best guards for a decade in pro football. Ruben Brown reached nine Pro Bowls with Buffalo and Chicago.
1994 – Bernard Williams – OT – Georgia
Was banned from the NFL after just two seasons due to repeated failed drug tests. Spent the remainder of his career bouncing around the CFL.
1993 – Steve Everitt – C – Michigan
A reliable starter in Cleveland before the team moved to Baltimore. Ended a nondescript career in Philadelphia after six years.
1992 – Derek Brown – TE – Notre Dame
A journeyman who played on four different teams in seven years and is best remembered for taking a brutal hit that collapsed his lung and put him in a wheelchair for weeks.
1991 – Leonard Russell – RB – Arizona State
Winning Rookie of the Year was the best Russell could muster in the pros. He managed a single 1,000-yard season and never averaged over four yards per carry.
1990 – Renaldo Turnbull – OLB – West Virginia
He wasn’t a superstar but Turnbull was a steady pass rusher for New Orleans and went to a Pro Bowl in 1993.
1989 – Jeff Lageman – DE – Virginia
Another pick that was booed undeservingly by Jets fans. Jeff Lageman was an All-Pro in 1991 for New York and also helped Jacksonville to two AFC championship games.
1988 – Gaston Green – RB – UCLA
The start of his career was a disaster for the L.A. Rams but he rebounded to become an All-Pro for Denver in 1991.
1987 – D.J. Dozier – RB – Penn State
Despite averaging 4.0 yards per carry for his career, Dozier was seldom used for five years in Minnesota or Detroit.
1986 – Gerald Robinson – DE – Auburn
Minnesota took him in the first round but he never posted more than five sacks in a season and retired with his third team at the age of 31.
1985 – Derrick Burroughs – CB – Memphis
He never started a game for the Buffalo Bills in five seasons and finished his career as a player with a mere six interceptions.
1984 – Jackie Shipp – ILB – Oklahoma
Spent six unremarkable seasons in Miami and Los Angeles, never living up to his awesome production at OU.
1983 – Jim Kelly – QB – Miami
A USFL MVP and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Buffalo Bills to four-straight Super Bowl appearances.
1982 – Barry Redden – RB – Richmond
Never topped the 500 yard mark and became largely a reserve, change-of-pace back who was best known as the guy Eric Dickerson replaced.
1981 – Willie Scott – TE – South Carolina
Played on bad Kansas City teams for years and never really had a fluid quarterback situation to help him flourish. Topped 250 yards once.
1980 – Roland James – DB – Tennessee
A durable and dependable defensive back for the New England Patriots for ten years. Finished his career with 29 interceptions.
If Chicago Bears fans were to look at that list they would see 12 players who reached the Pro Bowl at least once out of 34 names total. That is a success rate of just over 35%. Obviously injuries played a key part with several of those players so it ultimately comes down to choosing a good talent and then trusting in a little bit of luck. The favorable news is that the bulk of the successes have come within the past decade.