Bears to Pick 26th Overall

While there is value to be had at the bottom of the first round, it will take thorough scouting by the Bears in order to find talent with the 26th overall selection in the NFL draft.

The final order was determined following the conference title games. After the regular season the Bears were slotted to pick 25th overall, but there were six teams with an 11-5 record. Although the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants would have picked after the Bears because they had stronger strength of schedules, because each lost in the wildcard round they moved ahead of the Bears and will now pick 24th and 25th respectively.

Conversely the Carolina Panthers dropped from the 23rd selection to the 27th because they made it to the NFC Title game.

The Bears have had often found themselves picking early in the first round over the past decade. In every draft but two, they have owned a selection between 4-14. The only two exceptions were OT Marc Colombo (27th overall pick in 2002) and QB Rex Grossman (22nd pick in 2003).

During that time, the top choice by the franchise has been more miss than hit. Only MLB Brian Urlacher and DT Tommie Harris have went to the Pro Bowl. There have been several busts such as RB Curtis Enis, QB Cade McNown and WR David Terrell.

Over the last 10 years the organization has used or traded their first round pick to acquire an offensive player 7 times, while only 4 selections have come on the defensive side of the ball.

The team currently has five of their first round picks still on the roster, but that total is likely to change this off-season. DL Michael Haynes has stated he wants an opportunity to start. It doesn't appear he fits into the Bears plan after he was inactive five times during the regular season as well as the playoff loss to Carolina.

The Bears are likely to go after one of three positions with their first round selection: wide receiver, tight end or cornerback. Depending on what happens in free agency, the priorities could change and offensive line could also come into the mix.

The draft is not considered deep at wideout or cornerback so there could be a scarcity of talent available at both positions the bottom of the first round. Tight end has several intriguing prospects including UCLA's Mercedes Lewis, Georgia's Leonard Pope and Maryland's Vernon Davis.

The only other time the Bears had the 26th pick they took QB Jim Harbaugh out of Michigan in 1987.

Pro Bowl players have taken in the same slot over the past decade. The Ravens selected two-time Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis in 1996, while the Steelers plucked perennial Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca in 1998. However there are no guarantees, as the 49ers took QB Jim Druckenmiller in 1997and the Dolphins selected CB Jamar Fletcher in 2001.


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