The 7 Biggest Draft-Day Mistakes in Chicago Bears History

Ross Read@@RossReadContributor IIIMarch 12, 2014

The 7 Biggest Draft-Day Mistakes in Chicago Bears History

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    Cade McNown
    Cade McNownBETH A. KEISER/Associated Press

    The NFL draft can be very rewarding for a franchise. The Chicago Bears have been lucky to find icons like Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Brian Urlacher. Sadly, though, there have also been some historic misses. 

    Missing on a pick is always tough, but when you can look back and see what great players the Bears passed up, it makes it hurt even more. Just think, players like Drew Brees and Randy Moss could have been in Chicago. 

    What were the biggest draft day misses for the Bears? Cycle through and go down memory lane if you dare. 

Drafting Cade McNown

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    TED S. WARREN/Associated Press

    In 1999, the Bears drafted UCLA quarterback Cade McNown with the 12th overall pick. He was the highest quarterback drafted by the team since Jim McMahon back in 1982. 

    McNown came into the league with a cocky attitude and questionable arm strength, and still the Bears tabbed him as the future of the franchise. 

    After holding out for most of training camp, McNown ultimately lost the opening day starting position to Shane Matthews. 

    He was named the starting quarterback at the start of the 2000 season, in large part due to an injury to Jim Miller. McNown and the Bears went 1-6 to start the year and suffered an injury in the seventh game of the season. 

    McNown went on to start one more game that season. He was traded during the 2001 preseason to the Miami Dolphins. He had a 3-12 record as a starter for the Bears with 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. 

Drafting Curtis Enis

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    Curtis Enis
    Curtis EnisFRED JEWELL/Associated Press

    The Bears got less than 1,500 career yards from Curtis Enis, despite drafting him fifth overall in the 1998 draft. 

    Enis battled injuries and weight issues throughout his short career in the NFL. He had more career fumbles (5) than rushing touchdowns (4). 

    To add insult to injury, the Bears missed out on running back Fred Taylor, who was drafted ninth overall, and wide receiver Randy Moss, who went 21st. Taylor has over 11,000 career rushing yards, and Moss has 156 career touchdown receptions. 

The Bears Could Have Had Reggie Wayne or Drew Brees in 2001

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Drew Brees and Reggie Wayne are likely going to the Hall of Fame one day, and the two offensive weapons are still going strong. Rather than draft either player, though, the Bears opted for wide receiver David Terrell. 

    The best season Terrell ever had in Chicago was a 2004 performance in which he had 43 receptions, 699 yards and one receiving touchdown. Wayne has averaged 77 receptions over his 13-year career and has 80 receiving touchdowns in his career. 

    Want to feel worse about Terrell being drafted eighth overall? Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith was drafted 74th overall in the same draft. 

The First Round of the 2003 Draft

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    Rex Grossman
    Rex GrossmanNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    To the team's credit, the Bears found Charles Tillman in the second round and Lance Briggs in the third round of the 2003 draft. Is that enough to cancel out the first-round selections of quarterback Rex Grossman and defensive end Michael Haynes? 

    Haynes was picked 14th overall and two spots before All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu. Grossman came off the board with the 22nd pick. 

    The up-and-down roller coaster of Rex Grossman still pains Bears fans to this day. What's even more painful is Haynes' 5.5 career sacks in three NFL seasons in Chicago. 

    It turned out to be a tough year for quarterbacks. Carson Palmer went first overall, and Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller and Grossman all had subpar careers as first-round picks.  

Right Position, Wrong Guy

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    Chris Williams
    Chris WilliamsCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    There's no doubt the Bears needed a left tackle in 2008. They weren't alone, as eight offensive tackles went off the board in the first round that year. 

    After Jake Long and Ryan Clady were off the board, the Bears had a choice to make with the 14th overall pick. Instead of taking Branden Albert, who went off the board at No. 15, they took Chris Williams. 

    The Vanderbilt product never got his feet underneath him in Chicago. He battled injuries early, then came back in his second season to start 16 games, but he went on to struggle in 22 more starts over two years as a guard.

    The Bears eventually parted ways with Williams in 2012, and he is now a starter at guard for the St. Louis Rams.  


Remember Stan Thomas? Didn't Think So...

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Look closely in the picture above. You can see part of Stan Thomas as he attempts to keep quarterback Jim Harbaugh upright. 

    This is about the only picture you can find of Thomas doing anything worth while in a Bears uniform. He was drafted 22nd overall in the 1991 draft. Thomas was brought in to solidify the offensive line but lasted only two seasons with seven starts. 

    The Bears parted ways with Thomas after the 1992 season. He ended up with the Houston Oilers for two more seasons before ultimately exiting the league. 

'The Longest Yard'

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    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

    The Bears drafted guard Bob Sapp in the third round of the 1997 draft. He went on to have a successful career, but not in the NFL. 

    Sapp failed to make the opening day roster for the Bears and played in only one game in the NFL. He was suspended for alleged steroid use while with the Minnesota Vikings. He then went on to be a kickboxer, MMA fighter, professional wrestler, comedian and actor. 

    You know who did make it in the NFL? Defensive end Jason Taylor, linebacker Mike Vrabel, wide receiver Derrick Mason and running back Priest Holmes. They were all drafted after the Bears took Sapp. 

    Despite his 22 wins as a kickboxer and mixed martial artist, Sapp's biggest claim to fame is his appearance in the 2005 film The Longest Yard where he played an inmate/football player.