On Tuesday, the Chicago Bears waived wide receiver Mark Bradley, the seventh pick in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Bradley was a promising talent with his 6'2" frame, leaping ability, and above-average speed, but injuries nagged him throughout his time with the Bears.
In just over three seasons, he amassed only 38 catches for 583 yards and four touchdowns. Sadly, Bradley is only the most recent highly drafted prospect to bomb with the Bears.
With the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft, the Bears took Cedric Benson, an All-American running back from Texas who finished his college career as the sixth-leading rusher in Division 1-A history.
Like Bradley, Benson struggled with injuries and inconsistent play. It was Benson's trouble off the field that did him in, however.
Following two alcohol-related arrests in five weeks, he was released by the Bears in June.
While Benson couldn't handle his liquor, Rex Grossman couldn't handle the pressures of being the Bears' starting quarterback.
Selected with the 22nd overall pick in 2003, Grossman was hailed as the Bears' quarterback of the future.
Injuries and inconsistent play proved to be the recurrent theme here, and after only 32 games in over five seasons, Grossman's days with the Bears seem to be limited.
At least Grossman made it further than the player the Bears selected eight picks earlier in the first round of 2003.
Michael Haynes, drafted 14th overall after setting the Penn State record with 15 sacks in a season, could muster only 5.5 sacks over three seasons in Chicago.
Another defensive collegiate star, Dan Bazuin, was drafted in the second round of 2007 as Central Michigan's all-time leader in sacks and tackles for a loss as well as winning the 2006 MAC conference defensive player of the year.
Unfortunately, Bazuin could never take part in a "Beaz-win" as injuries kept him from playing a single snap.
Another defensive lineman, Tank Johnson, was selected in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Washington.
Tank was different than these other Bears flops because he actually played well in his time in Chicago. In his three seasons, he only missed two regular season games and was a great complement to fellow defensive tackle and draft-mate Tommie Harris.
While the Tank was a weapon on the field, he also maintained an artillery of weapons and was arrested on gun charges in 2005.
While on probation for the gun charges, he was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest (charges that were eventually dropped) as well as additional gun charges following a police raid of his home in December 2006.
He ended up serving four months in jail after the 2006-2007 season.
The final blow came in June of 2007. After being stopped by police for speeding, he was suspected of being impaired "to the slightest degree." He was released by the Bears a few days later.
To put this all in perspective, there are a number of high draft picks who have performed as badly as Bradley. In the past, I was quick to defend these players because of their draft status, but recent history is teaching fans not to.
While some picks like Charles Tillman, Tommie Harris, and Devin Hester have been great, six out of the 11 Bears selected in the first and second rounds from 2003-2007 have flopped. Four are no longer playing in the NFL.
So long, Mark Bradley. We barely knew thee.
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