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Notable Bears second-round draft picks


In the seventh of an eight-part series, we take a look at the most notable second-round draft picks in Bears history.*

Players the Bears have selected in the second round of the draft include two Hall of Fame middle linebackers and arguably the best return specialist in NFL history.

Bill George spent his first 14 NFL seasons with the Bears from 1952-65, setting a team record for most years played that has since been surpassed by long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (16).

George is credited with creating the middle linebacker position when he dropped back off the line of scrimmage in 1954. He was named All-NFL eight times in nine years and was selected to eight straight Pro Bowls from 1955-62.

The Wake Forest product was voted to the league's All-Decade Team for the 1950s and was a member of the 1963 Bears championship squad. His No. 61 was retired by the Bears and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.

A look at some of the most notable draft picks in Bears history who were selected in the second round.

Another star middle linebacker, Mike Singletary, was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 1981 draft. He was voted to 10 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons, the most in franchise history.

Singletary was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and '88 and was voted to the league's All-Decade Team for the 1980s. His 172 starts are the most by a defensive player in Bears history and he finished first or second on the team in tackles in each of his final 11 seasons.

Devin Hester spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Bears from 2006-13, becoming the NFL's most prolific return specialist. He rewrote the NFL record book, setting all-time marks with 18 kick return touchdowns and 13 punt return TDs. And that doesn't even count his magical 92-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI.

Hester set an NFL single-season record with five kick return touchdowns as a rookie in 2006 and then eclipsed the mark the following year with six kick return TDs.

Some of the Bears' top playmakers over the past decade or so have been second-round picks. In addition to Hester they include safety Mike Brown (2000), cornerback Charles Tillman (2003), running back Matt Forte (2008) and receiver Alshon Jeffery (2012).

Brown spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Bears from 2000-08, appearing in 100 games with 99 starts and recording 20 interceptions and seven defensive touchdowns, the second most in team history. Before being plagued by injury problems later in his career, Brown played in all 64 games (with 63 starts) during his first four seasons with the Bears.

Brown returned interceptions for touchdowns in overtime to win back-to-back games against the 49ers and Browns in 2001 and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2005.

Tillman played 12 seasons with the Bears from 2003-14. He was part of a dominant defense that helped the Bears win three NFC North titles and one conference championship. He set team records with nine defensive touchdowns, eight interception return TDs and 675 interception return yards. His 36 interceptions are the most by a cornerback in team history and third most overall behind safeties Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37).

Known for smacking the ball away from opponents, a technique dubbed the "Peanut Punch," Tillman forced 42 fumbles in 12 seasons, including a career-high 10 in 2012 when he was voted to his second straight Pro Bowl.

Forte spent eight seasons with the Bears from 2008-15 and ranks second in team history behind Hall of Famer Walter Payton in rushing yards, receiving yards by a running back, yards from scrimmage, 100-yard rushing games (24), scrimmage yards per game (106.0) and games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage (25).

In 2015, Forte ran for 898 yards and four touchdowns on 218 carries, despite missing three games with a knee injury. He led the Bears in rushing for the eighth straight year—the longest stretch since Payton was the team's top rusher for 12 consecutive seasons from 1975-86.

Jeffery was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2013 after catching 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns and followed with 85 receptions for 1,133 yards and 10 TDs in 2014.

Jeffery ranks 10th on the Bears' all-time receiving list in catches (252), eighth in yards (3,728) and 11th in touchdowns (24). His 3,728 yards are the most by any player in his first four seasons with the Bears.

Jeffery is one of five pass catchers in team history with two 1,000-yard seasons, and his 1,421 yards in 2013 are second-most in Bears single-season history. He also has recorded the two most prolific games by a Bears receiver with 249 yards against the Vikings and 218 yards versus the Saints, both in 2013 contests.

Other notable second-round picks by the Bears include fullback Rick Casares (1954), Petitbon (1959), cornerback Bennie McRae (1962), defensive end Mike Hartenstine (1975) and fullback Matt Suhey (1980).

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