NFL Draft 2011: Chicago Bears 10 Best Late-Round Picks Since 2000

Joseph HigginsContributor IIApril 30, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Chicago Bears 10 Best Late-Round Picks Since 2000

0 of 10

    Some NFL teams find their greatest talent in the last few rounds on the NFL draft. Take the New England Patriots for instance—perhaps their greatest quarterback of all time was taken in the sixth round (the 199th pick is now the acclaimed Tom Brady Pick.) 

    Other great NFLers that have been taken late consist of the Denver Broncos' Terrell Davis (sixth round), the New Orleans Saints' Marques Colston (seventh round) and the Chicago Bears' own Richard Dent (eighth round).

    Chicago has had their fair share of late round picks as well since the year 2000. In some cases, most of their talent at particular positions has come from picks in the second or third day.

    Naturally, the projected "best player" that a team drafts will come from their first pick. Why would they use the top pick to bring in a questionable player?

    In my opinion, a team's true talent comes from everything after the first round—a player like Cam Newton can't completely change a team, can he?

    Also, players picked in the first round don't always turn out to be who we thought they were (not trying to quote Dennis Green here). It is more disappointing when a player like Cedric Benson, in the Bears' case, gets picked high and flakes out.

    It wouldn't have hurt so much if he was taken later in the draft—at least if a fourth or fifth round pick doesn't work out so well it isn't really considered a "bust."

    The best picks that are going to follow this slide are ones that come from the fourth round all the way to the seventh round and are in no particular order. 

Nathan Vasher

1 of 10

    Picked in 2004, fourth round, 110th overall, University Texas

    Vasher's first three years in Chicago were his best ever. Totaling 16 interceptions (two for touchdowns), a Pro Bowl selection and a then record of the longest return ever of 108 yards is something any player would want to put on their resume. 

    When he was still in his prime, Charles Tillman and Vasher made a dangerous, young cornerback tandem for the Monsters of the Midway. However, injuries kept nagging him, which eventually led to him losing a starting spot to Zack Bowman.

    Now he resides playing for the NFC North rival Detroit Lions.

Adrian Peterson

2 of 10

    Picked in 2002, sixth round, 199th overall, Georgian Southern University

    The "other" Adrian Peterson, as some may call this guy, has been working behind the scenes for the Bears for almost 10 years now.

    Notably known for being a backup running back, third down back and special teams specialist, Peterson has no problem doing what he does.

    Even though he may just be a backup, Peterson has still managed to rush for eight touchdowns and even throw for one.

Kyle Orton

3 of 10

    Picked in 2005, fourth round, 106th overall, Purdue University

    Kyle Orton could have been the Bears' best quarterback if Grossman had not come back from injury in the 2005 regular season. Orton would have continued to be the number one quarterback and could have even won the Super Bowl for Chicago.

    He may not have had the flashiest of numbers, but what he did was keep the offense's drive alive just long enough so that the defense would have enough time to rest their bodies. That's why the defense was so successful that year.

    It's a shame that he had such a successful season with the Broncos, especially when Cutler didn't look his best in his debut with Chicago. But one could think what may have happened if Orton was still a part of the Bears organization.

Chris Harris

4 of 10

    Picked in 2005, sixth round, 181st overall, University of Louisiana-Monroe

    Chris Harris has stepped in to be a starting safety for the Bears, and even after he came back to Chicago from Carolina, his spot was still waiting for him.

    Even though he may have had a better run in Carolina (a career high eight forced fumbles in 2007), his presence in Chicago is one that has made this defense even better. 

    Chicago had a great tandem of safeties back in the early 2000s with Mike Brown and Mike Green. Now since they are both gone, Harris has played alongside Danieal Manning to make an equally great and even younger safety tandem.

    Good coverage, big hits and interceptions have made Harris a key aspect to the Tampa 2 defense that Chicago runs so perfectly.

Alex Brown

5 of 10

    Picked in 2002, fourth round, 104th overall, University of Florida

    Brown may be a New Orleans Saint now, but when he was in Chicago he was a dominant force at left end. Paired up with Adewale Ogunleye, they were lethal at opposite ends of the d-line.

    Although he never managed to reach double digits in sacks, he still made sure that the quarterback knew he was there. Over the course of his eight seasons in Chicago, he accumulated 43.5 of them—that's an average of a little over five per season.

    Now that may not be the most impressive number, but going up against big, mean left tackles is more difficult than going against right tackles—one could argue.

    In fact, Ogunleye and Brown often argued whether right end or left end was more difficult to play in the sense of which position was more difficult to play against: right or left tackle?

Mark Anderson

6 of 10

    Picked in 2006, fifth Round, 159th Overall, University of Alabama

    In his rookie season with Chicago, Anderson primarily was a third down rusher, never a starting defensive lineman. That being said, he still managed to set a franchise record of 12 sacks in his rookie season.

    He placed second for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    Other than that, his four remaining years with Chicago weren't eye boggling. He managed to put out only 9.5 more sacks in four years, only playing four games in his final season with Chicago.

    In 2006, it might have looked like the Bears had gotten the best sleeper pick in the entire draft. It may have continued to be true if Anderson kept on bringing the QB down to the turf.

    Imagine if he was still here and kept producing like he did in his rookie year; would the Bears still have gone out to sign Julius Peppers?

J'Marcus Webb

7 of 10

    Picked in 2010, seventh round, 218th overall, West Texas A&M

    For a Bears offensive line that has struggled for the past couple of seasons, Webb has been one of the better and younger players in the trenches.

    He's been moved about the line, ending the season being their right tackle.

    Now that the Bears have drafted LT Gabe Carimi, Webb might have competition at that spot—that is, if he wants to move back there. 

    Regardless, to have a seventh-round pick who's playing a position that the Bears lack talent in and to become a starter is a steal in my book, especially since he's good at it.

Johnny Knox

8 of 10

    Picked in 2009, fifth round, 140th overall, Abilene Christian University

    Johnny Knox appears to be the No. 1 receiver for the Chicago Bears, as of now. Although he may never be a top receiver for any other NFL team, Knox has provided deep threat abilities for the Bears in the past two seasons.

    Like the other Bears receivers, Knox is small but fast. He's had catches for 68 and 67 yards in 2009 and 2010, respectively. 

    Depending on what the Bears do for the rest of the draft (they haven't addressed the wide receiver issue yet) and in the free agency, we'll still be looking for Knox to be reeling in the long balls.

D.J. Moore

9 of 10

    Picked in 2009, fourth round, 119th overall, Vanderbilt University

    Last season, Moore played in all 16 games for the first time in his two-year career. Primarily, he's been used as the Bears' nickelback and really showed up for the occasion early last year.

    Two interceptions in the big game against the Dallas Cowboys (second game of the season) along with an interception return for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.

    Also, he's broken up many passes and hawks the ball whenever it comes his way.

    Even though the Bears' secondary struggles, Moore was a nice late-round pick that turned out to work well for them.

Mike Green

10 of 10

    Picked in 2000, seventh round, 254th overall, Northwestern State

    Mike Green made a great tandem at safety with Mike Brown in his six seasons with Chicago. Twice he had overall 100 tackles. And to think he was the last player drafted in the 2000 NFL draft.

    The great thing about Green was he was an all-around safety. He covered the ball well, could stop the run and got to the quarterback.

    To be able to get starting quality out of someone picked last like Green was something that the front office should always be happy about. 

    Green's career faded out after he was done playing with the Bears going into the 2006 season. This could be credited to a Lisfranc fracture he suffered in the 2006 season. 

    Nevertheless, when Green was in Chicago he kept the motor running and helped the Bears' defense continue to keep its reputation as one of the best in the league.