NFL Draft: 1983 Draft the Gold Standard for the Chicago Bears

Keith GrieveContributor IApril 9, 2011

Former Head Coach Mike Ditka Got A Bunch Of Quality Players in the '83 Draft
Former Head Coach Mike Ditka Got A Bunch Of Quality Players in the '83 DraftJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo is one of the more polarizing figures in Chicago sports. Some might say he ranks right up there with Steve Bartman (sorry I had to bring that up). If Angelo is looking for a model of success, look no further than the Bears' selections in the 1983 NFL Draft.

The Bears finished the 1982 season, their first under Mike Ditka, 3-6 (ironically labor woes led a shortened season). They were mediocre to say the least, ranking 22nd offensively and and 13th defensively in the 28-team league.

When draft day came, the Bears put their plan in motion.

With the first of their two picks in the first round, they selected OT Jimbo Covert. Covert would go on to anchor the offensive line into the next decade.

With their second first round pick, they landed WR Willie Gault. Gault would lead the team in receiving yards his rookie year and prove to be the deep threat all championship teams need.

In the second round, the took DB Mike Richardson. He would start at corner, opposite Leslie Frazier.

With their third round pick, the Bears selected the late DB Dave Duerson. He would later prove to be an essential part of the "46" defense.

In the fourth round, the Bears went with C Tom Thayer. He would eventually start at RG on the 1985 team.

Later, in the eight round they were able to come away with OG Mark Bortz and DE Richard Dent. Bortz would start beginning in 1984 and Dent would go on to have a Hall of Fame career at the right end spot and be a pivotal player in that vaunted "46" defense.

Seven draft picks from this draft ended up being integral parts of a Super Bowl Champion team that some say is one of the best—if not THE best—single season team ever assembled.

These days, Angelo is lucky if two of his picks are even on the roster three years later. If I were him, I'd figure out what that 1983 recipe was. Fast.