Refreshing Draft Bears: Top 5 Draft Picks of the Last 10 Years

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Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

As a follow up to last week’s “Stale Draft Bears,” I present to you the best Bears draft picks of the last 10 years. So come back from the ledge Bear fans, there’s been some solid picks this past 10 years that deserve some credit – even to Jerry Angelo!

Constructing this list may not be as easy as you think. There may be some players that didn’t make the list that had more production. However, the round that the player was picked in relative to his production should be considered. For example, Greg Olsen had some solid production in his years but as a 1st round selection, solid production is expected. His lack of dominance, blocking and pro bowl selections kept him off the list. Other considerations include: pro bowl selections, durability, wow factor, overall impact and last but not least – production of opposing counterparts in the same draft. So relax and enjoy some refreshing draft bears….

#5-Nathan Vasher 2004, 4th Rd #14, CB 

I may get some scrutiny for this as you could toss a coin between Vasher, Mark Anderson and Henry Melton for number 5 on this list. However, from 2004-2008, Nathan Vasher filled a void as a solid starter opposite Charles Tillman, and did it with excitement. Of all the corners taken in the 2004 NFL draft, only 2 ever made it to a pro bowl – Vasher and D’Angelo Hall (Hall was the 8th overall pick, Vasher was 110th). Even though Vasher faded quickly in 2009 and was released, his production during his tenure with the Bears was more than anyone can ask for from a middle 4th round selection: 19 ints, 2 returned for tds, 1 pro bowl, 2 forced fumbles and 42 passes defended. Even though he was a liability in run defense, his ability to make plays on the ball was a large reason for the success of the Bears in 2005 and 2006. His 108 yard missed field goal return is still tied for the 3rd longest play in the history of the NFL.

#4-Tommie Harris 2004, 1st Rd #14, DT

Stats may not support his first round selection, but for 3 to 4 seasons the Bears defense was very difficult to run on, thanks in large part to Tommie Harris. Lovie Smith was obviously not thrilled about the depth chart at defensive tackle when he took over as head coach and he made this known by influencing the first 2 picks as head coach – both being defensive tackles (Tank Johnson was the other). Some critics of this selection say that other available tackles such as Dockett and Wilfork make this look like a

Tommie Harris

mistake. There is some validity to that statement, however, it is hard to ignore the production and presence of Harris when healthy and his 3 Pro Bowl selections support that. His inability to stay healthy kept him from being farther up this list, but when Tommie was anchoring the trenches, the defense and everyone in it – was better. In 2005 and 2006, the Bears can credit a lot of their defensive success to Tommie Harris.