Chicago Bears: Grading Their Past 5 Years of 1st Round Picks

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Kyle Long #75 of the Chicago Bears high fives fans after the Bears defeated the Carolina Panthers 17-3 at Soldier Field on October 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Kyle Long #75 of the Chicago Bears high fives fans after the Bears defeated the Carolina Panthers 17-3 at Soldier Field on October 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears can’t hope to challenge the NFC again until they start getting their problems with 1st round draft picks figured out.

From 2008 to 2012, the team may have experienced its worst drought at the top end of the draft in franchise history. Chris Williams was a failure at offensive tackle. They didn’t have picks in 2009 or 2010 because of the Jay Cutler trade. A knee injury ruined Gabe Carimi just two games into his career and Shea McClellin was a flop. It’s little wonder the franchise sank to such incredibly low depths over the past few years.

The question is have they done enough since then to position the team for a rebound. Let’s take a look at their last five 1st round picks and given an assessment of how they did based on the latest information. Did they screw it up or is their a sign of hope for the future?

2013:  Kyle Long (OG, Oregon)

There were a lot of unknowns about Kyle Long. He had a questionable off the field background that got him in trouble prior to attending Oregon. He was a freak athlete for an offensive lineman but was a considerable risk. Thankfully the Bears gambled correctly. Long became a three-time Pro Bowler at guard and right tackle for them. Despite recent injury setbacks, he remains one of their most dependable offensive blockers and has a chance to regain his old form in 2018.

2014:  Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)

It’s been quite the roller coaster ride with Kyle Fuller. He got off to such a great start as a rookie with four interceptions but fell apart quickly. In 2015 it looked like he might rebound, then he injured his knee and missed all of 2016. The Bears were about ready to give up on him, then he delivered a very good 2017 season, earning a new contract. He’s established himself as their best cornerback on the roster. Not quite a star but a good player.

2015:  Kevin White (WR, West Virginia)

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He came in with so much promise. White was a 6’3 kid who fought his way up from junior college to West Virginia where he dominated in 2014 and showcased elite speed at the scouting combine. It was enough for the Bears to take him 7th overall in the 2015 draft. Since then he’s played a total of five games, suffering two broken legs and a fracture shoulder blade in that span. The poor kid has awful luck and is looking like a bust. This season is his last chance to salvage his career.

2016:  Leonard Floyd (OLB, Georgia)

One of the most athletic linebackers in the 2016 draft class. The Bears saw huge potential in Leonard Floyd as an edge rusher in their new 3-4 defense under Vic Fangio. He would continue to flash this as a rookie when he had seven sacks. However, 2017 would be somewhat of a disappointment for him as he delivered just 4.5 sacks and saw his season end with a knee injury. People still aren’t sure if he can be that true edge guy they can build that defense around.

2017:  Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina)

It might be a bit too soon to pass judgment on Mitch Trubisky. His rookie year wasn’t great, throwing seven touchdowns with seven interceptions. However, he seemed to show progress towards the end of the season, making some impressive throws and posting a few strong performances. This with what may have been the worst receiving corps and offensive system the franchise has employed in at least a decade. Now with much better weapons and a better scheme around him, things could be looking up.


It’s actually not as bad as first thought. The injury setbacks to Long, Fuller and Floyd prevented the grade from being higher. White is also looking like a bust, but the potential of this group remains strong and there’s reason for optimism. The fact that all of them are still on the team is encouraging in and of itself. This coming season will heavily determine which direction they go.