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Bears Draft Primer

6 fun facts about history of 48th pick in NFL Draft


Last month the Bears acquired the 48th overall pick in the second round of this week's NFL Draft in a trade that sent outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. Here are six factoids about the No. 48 selection:

(1) The Bears have selected five players with the 48th choice since the inception of the draft in 1936.

The only prospect they've taken in that spot in the last 48 years is North Carolina defensive tackle Russell Davis in 1999. Davis played just one year with the Bears, appearing in 11 games with eight starts as a rookie in 1999 and compiling 17 tackles, 2.0 sacks and three tackles-for-loss. The 6-4, 306-pounder played eight more NFL seasons with the Cardinals (2000-05), Seahawks (2006) and Giants (2007).

Other players the Bears have taken at No. 48 are Purdue defensive tackle Gary Hrivnak in 1973, Grambling tackle Ernie Ladd in 1961, Nebraska center Tom Novak in 1950 and Tulane guard Tommy O'Boyle in 1941.

Hrivnak played three seasons with the Bears from 1973-75, appearing in 41 games with 11 starts. Ladd, Novak and O'Boyle never played for the Bears.

Ladd opted to sign with the San Diego Chargers in the rival American Football League and was a first-team All-Pro in three of eight AFL seasons with the Chargers (1961-65), Houston Oilers (1966-67) and Kansas City Chiefs (1967-68). He was the largest player of his era at 6-9 and 290 pounds, earning him the nickname "Big Cat." Ladd was also a popular professional wrestler during and after his pro football career.

(2) All five players the Bears have chosen at No. 48 and all three prospects taken at No. 48 since 2019 are offensive or defensive linemen.

Those chosen the last three years are Saints center Erik McCoy in 2019, Seahawks defensive end Darrell Taylor in 2020 and 49ers guard Aaron Banks in 2021.

(3) Since 1995, six players who were chosen at No. 48 were ultimately voted to at least one Pro Bowl.

The list consists of Colts tight end Ken Dilger (1995), Commanders tight end Stephen Alexander (1998), Patriots tackle Matt Light (2001), Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (2013), Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman (2015) and Bengals running back Joe Mixon (2017).

(4) Three Hall of Famers were chosen at No. 48, including two in back-to-back years.

The three are Dolphins center Dwight Stephenson (1980), Raiders defensive tackle Howie Long (1981)—the father of Bears 2013 first-round pick Kyle Long—and Packers safety LeRoy Butler (1990).

(5) This year marked the fourth straight year and the sixth time in the last seven drafts that the 48th pick has been traded.

The Bears acquired the selection, along with a 2023 sixth-round pick, in exchange for Mack. It's their second of two second-round picks, with the first being at No. 39.

(6) The 48th pick in 1954 was Iowa center Jerry Hilgenberg, a first-team All-American and the father of former Bears seven-time Pro Bowl center Jay Hilgenberg, who also played for the Hawkeyes.

Jerry was selected by the Cleveland Browns. But he never played in the NFL; he joined the Air Force and later served as an Iowa assistant coach from 1956-63.

With the Bears holding two second-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 Round 2 draft choices in team history.

Larry Mayer

Bears Senior Writer

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