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Top fifth-round draft picks in Bears history


In the third of a five-part series, we take a look at the most notable fifth-round draft picks in Bears history.

Players the Bears have chosen in the fifth round of the draft include a Hall of Fame guard, a top defensive tackle and a star running back tragically killed in a car accident during his career.

The best fifth-round pick in franchise history is guard Stan Jones, who played 12 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Bears from 1954-65 and was voted to seven straight Pro Bowls. Known as the first pro football player to lift weights on a regular basis, Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Another star from the same era was selected by the Bears in the fifth round of the 1952 draft. Defensive tackle Fred Williams was voted to four Pro Bowls in 12 seasons with the team from 1952-63 while appearing in 168 games. Like Jones, Williams was a member of the Bears' 1963 NFL championship squad.

The Bears selected Willie Galimore in the fifth round of the 1956 draft, and the dynamic running back rushed for 2,985 yards and 26 touchdowns on 670 carries and caught 87 passes for 1,201 yards and 10 TDs in 82 games over seven seasons.

After helping the Bears win the 1963 NFL championship, Galimore and teammate Bo Farrington were killed in an automobile accident the following summer during training camp in Rensselaer, Ind.

Years later, the Bears spent fifth-round picks on three players who were voted to the Pro Bowl on special teams: Jerry Azumah (1999), Corey Graham (2007) and Johnny Knox (2009).

Azumah went to the Pro Bowl in 2003 when he led the NFL in kickoff returns with a 29.0-yard average and two touchdowns. He scored the final touchdown at the old Soldier Field when he intercepted a Donovan McNabb pass and returned it 39 yards in a playoff loss to the Eagles on Jan. 19, 2002.

Azumah spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Bears from 1999-2005, appearing in 105 games with 49 starts. He recorded 10 interceptions and 6.5 sacks and averaged 24.2 yards on 119 kickoff returns.

Graham was voted to the Pro Bowl as the NFC's special-teams representative in 2011 after recording a team-high 22 tackles and recovering one fumble. The New Hampshire product also ranked second on defense with three interceptions.

After spending his first five NFL seasons with the Bears from 2007-11, Graham won Super Bowls with the Ravens and Eagles and has also played for the Bills.

Knox was selected with a fifth-round pick the Bears acquired in a trade with the Broncos in which they landed Jay Cutler. Knox was voted to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2009 after ranking second in the NFL in kickoff returns with a 29.0-yard average, including a 102-yard touchdown.

Knox suffered a serious back injury in a Dec. 18, 2011 game against the Seahawks that ended his career after just three seasons.

Other notable Bears fifth-round draft picks include:

Cecil Turner, receiver/kick returner (1968)
Turner spent his entire six-year NFL career with the Bears. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1970 after tying a league single-season record by returning four kickoffs for touchdowns.

Bob Parsons, tight end/punter (1972)
Parsons played 12 seasons with the Bears and owns the franchise record for most punts with 884. Parsons set an NFL record with 114 punts in 1981 and doubled as a tight end early in his career, catching 19 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns.

Revie Sorey, guard (1975)
A key member of the Bears offensive line during some of Walter Payton's top seasons, Sorey played in 109 games with 77 starts over nine seasons in Chicago. He started all 14 games in 1977 when Payton rushed for a career-high 1,852 yards.

Chris Villarrial, guard (1996)
Villarrial appeared in 116 games with 109 starts over eight seasons with the Bears, opening at least 15 contests five times. He started all 16 games at right guard in 2001 when the Bears won their first division championship since the Mike Ditka era.

Bobby Wade, receiver (2003)
Wade played 40 games with 15 starts over three seasons with the Bears, catching 64 passes for 698 yards. He later played for the Titans, Vikings and Chiefs.

Justin Gage, receiver (2003)
Gage played four seasons with the Bears, catching 201 passes for 2,958 yards and 16 touchdowns while appearing in 49 games with 16 starts.

Mark Anderson, defensive end (2006)
A pass rush specialist, Anderson made an immediate impact, setting a Bears rookie record with 12 sacks in 2006. He remained with the Bears through 2010, appearing in 66 games with 18 starts and registering 21.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

Jordan Howard, running back (2016)
Howard rushed for 3,370 yards and 24 touchdowns over three seasons with the Bears. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2016 after setting a team rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards.

Senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 fifth-round draft picks in Bears history: