Top fourth-round picks in Bears history

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

General manager Ryan Pace and the Bears struck gold in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, selecting safety Eddie Jackson at No. 112 and running back Tarik Cohen at No. 119.

Even after only two seasons, Jackson and Cohen—both of whom were named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl last year—are already among the best fourth-round picks in Bears history.

In 2018, Jackson recorded a career-high six interceptions and scored three touchdowns on two interception returns and a fumble return. His five defensive TDs since joining the Bears in 2017 are tied for the most by a player in his first two NFL seasons (with the Jets’ Erik McMillan in 1988-89).

Jackson was named NFC defensive player of the month last November. He helped lead the Bears to a 4-0 record, scoring three touchdowns while recording 15 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four pass breakups.

Cohen has displayed his tremendous versatility since arriving from North Carolina A&T. Known as “the human joystick,” he became only the second player in NFL history to gain at least 500 yards via rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns in his first 25 career games.

Last season Cohen was named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl as a punt returner after leading the NFL with 411 punt-return yards.

Three members of the Bears’ last Super Bowl team in 2006 were productive fourth-round picks: Defensive end Alex Brown (2002), cornerback Nathan Vasher (2004) and quarterback Kyle Orton (2005).

Brown spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Bears, appearing in 127 games with 107 starts and recording 43.5 sacks and five interceptions. He ranks fourth on the team's all-time sack list behind only Richard Dent, Steve McMichael and Dan Hampton.

Vasher played six NFL seasons with the Bears, appearing in 87 games with 51 starts and registering 20 interceptions and two forced fumbles. The Texas product was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2005 after leading the Bears with a career-high eight interceptions. Vasher also set an NFL mark in 2005 that teammate Devin Hester matched a year later by returning a missed field-goal attempt 108 yards for a touchdown.

Orton spent three seasons with the Bears before being traded to the Broncos in a 2009 deal that sent Jay Cutler to Chicago. After Rex Grossman broke his leg during a 2005 preseason game, Orton took over and compiled a 10-5 record as the starter, helping the Bears win their first NFC North title.

Several Bears fourth-round picks also excelled in the 1990s. They include guard Todd Perry (1993), running back Raymont Harris (1994), receiver Marcus Robinson (1997) and linebackers Rosevelt Colvin (1999) and Warrick Holdman (1999).

Perry spent eight seasons with the Bears, appearing in 118 games with 97 starts from 1993-2000. He started all 16 games at left guard during each of his final three years with the team.

Harris spent four seasons with the Bears, rushing for 2,245 yards and 15 touchdowns on 592 carries and catching 100 passes for 651 yards and 1 TD from 1994-97 while appearing in 42 games with 35 starts. The Ohio State product rushed for a career-high 1,033 yards and 10 TDs in 1997.

Robinson played five seasons with the Bears, catching 187 passes for 2,695 yards and 20 touchdowns in 51 games with 28 starts. He set a franchise single-season receiving record that has since been broken with 1,400 yards in 1999.

Colvin and Holdman arrived together in 1999 and were joined a year later by Brian Urlacher, forming one of the NFL's top young linebacking corps. Colvin spent four seasons with the Bears, recording 26 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. Moving to defensive end in passing situations, he compiled 10.5 sacks in both 2001 and 2002. Holdman played five seasons with the Bears, registering 3.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

Two key members of the 1985 Super Bowl championship team were fourth-round picks: Guard Tom Thayer (1983) and kicker Kevin Butler (1985). Thayer was an integral part of some of the best offensive lines in NFL history, appearing in 123 games with 120 starts over eight seasons with the Bears.

Butler was the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 1,116 points until Robbie Gould broke his record. Butler appeared in 184 games over 12 seasons with the Bears. He set the NFL single-season rookie scoring record that has since been broken with 144 points in 1985 with the Super Bowl XX champions.

Other notable Bears fourth-round picks include:

James Thornton, tight end (1988)
Nicknamed "Robocop" due to his impressive physique, Thornton caught 75 passes for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns in 64 games over four seasons with the Bears.

Todd Bell, safety (1981)
Bell spent six seasons with the Bears, though he sat out the entire 1985 Super Bowl season due to a contract dispute. In 1984, the Ohio State product was voted to the Pro Bowl after recording four interceptions. Bell delivered a devastating hit in the Bears' playoff win over the Washington Redskins later that season on running back Joe Washington, forcing an incompletion.

Virgil Livers, cornerback (1975)
Livers spent his entire five-year NFL career with the Bears, recording 12 interceptions and six fumble recoveries while also averaging 8.6 yards on 86 punt returns and 20.1 yards on 27 kickoff returns.

Doug Buffone (1966)
One of the most popular Bears players during and after his career, Buffone played 14 seasons in Chicago, tied for second with Hall of Fame linebacker Bill George behind long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (16). Though overshadowed by teammate Dick Butkus, Buffone was a playmaker whose 24 career interceptions are the most in Bears history by a linebacker.

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

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