Sometimes a little fun fact seems to pop up regarding NFL teams, and one may be building for the Chicago Bears regarding drafts that end in 3.
2013 class already produced Kyle Long and Jordan Mills
Could the idea that NFL drafts ending with the number 3 being good luck for Chicago be nothing more than coincidence? Sure, but it’s hard to ignore history. Already the 2013 class is proving quite valuable to the Bears future plans. Right guard Kyle Long produced a Pro Bowl in his rookie season while Jordan Mills started every game at right tackle. Together they help the offense rank 6th overall. Second round linebacker Jonathan Bostic started a number of games at middle linebacker while seventh rounder Marquess Wilson is expected to become a major contributor at wide receiver.
2003 saw the arrival of Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman
Things really got going for the Chicago Bears in 2003, especially on defense. That was the year they added a couple of stalwarts in linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman. Both are still with the team and have a combined nine Pro Bowls between them. That year was also a big help from a depth perspective with key reserves like Todd Johnson, Ian Scott, Justin Gage, and Joe Odom all helping to turn the team around into contender in 2005 and 2006. Of course there was also quarterback Rex Grossman who assisted in their Super Bowl run.
1993 was the year Curtis Conway boosted the offense
The Bears offense was in critical condition during the early 1990s. People were starting to think it would never get better. Then the team added a young man named Curtis Conway out of USC in 1993. The wide receiver had an instant impact. He helped Chicago reached the playoffs in 1994, then posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in ’95 and ’96. What many forget is he was on pace for a third in ’97 but unfortunately was injured after seven games. Also in that draft came a seldom remember guard Todd Perry who ended up becoming a stable starter for the Bears for six seasons.
1983 produced Jimbo Covert and Richard Dent
There may not be a more celebrated NFL draft in Chicago Bears history than the one they pulled off in 1983. Mike Ditka was in his second year as head coach and needed a productive draft in order to get the team on track for his promise to reach the Super Bowl in by the third year. Things started well right away when the team picked Jimbo Covert 6th overall. Covert became their starting left tackle for the next eight seasons and was All-Pro twice. Next came wide receiver Willie Gault, a speed threat who became a perfect fit for the Bears run-oriented offense. Next was cornerback Mike Richardson who played six seasons in Chicago and snagged 20 interceptions.
After him was safety Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowler, and then guard Tom Thayer who started eight season for the team. The real finds of the ’83 draft though came in the eighth round when guard Mike Bortz, a 12-year starter, and Richard Dent, a future Hall of Fame defensive end arrived. This class was considered one of the best in NFL history and helped turn Chicago into Super Bowl champions by 1985.
Rich history involves Stan Jones and Wally Chambers
Beyond that the history of the “3” drafts runs deep. In 1973 the Chicago Bears added defensive tackle Wally Chambers and cornerback Allan Ellis who went to a combined four Pro Bowls. In 1963 came Pro Bowl center Dave Behrman who was a major player in helping the team win a championship that year. Then in 1953 came Pro Bowl tackle Kline Gilbert, Pro Bowl center Larry Strickland and eventual Hall of Fame guard Stan Jones.
Whatever the superstitions of the Chicago Bears average fan, it’s clear that in the future expectations should be very high for the 2013 class and all eyes should fix on what happens next in 2023.