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Top third-round draft picks in Bears history


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

Two of the best players at their respective positions in Bears history were selected in the third round of the draft, center Olin Kreutz in 1998 and linebacker Lance Briggs in 2003.

Kreutz was voted to six Pro Bowls in 13 seasons with the Bears from 1998-2010, anchoring the offensive line while winning four division championships and one conference title. The Washington product appeared in 191 games with 183 starts, one shy of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton's franchise record.

Kreutz, by the way, is in Nashville to introduce the Bears' third-round pick Friday night.

Briggs was selected to seven Pro Bowls in 12 seasons from 2003-14. He appeared in 173 games with 170 starts, recording 1,566 tackles, 15 sacks, 16 interceptions and 18 forced fumbles. His six defensive touchdowns are third most in Bears history and his five interception return TDs are second most. Briggs was the first linebacker in NFL history to return an interception for a touchdown in each of his first three seasons.

The Bears have struck gold at the receiver position in the third round, choosing Ken Kavanaugh (1940), George Farmer (1970), Marty Booker (1999), Bernard Berrian (2004) and Earl Bennett (2008).

Kavanaugh played eight seasons with the Bears in the 1940s and remains the franchise's all-time leader with 50 touchdown receptions. He helped the Monsters of the Midway win NFL titles in 1940 and '41 before leaving to serve as a fighter pilot in World War II. Kavanaugh returned to the Bears in 1945 and won another championship in 1946. He was selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1940s.

Farmer played six seasons with the Bears, catching 113 passes for 1,909 yards and 10 TDs. His most productive year was 1971 when he led the team with 46 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns.

Booker played six seasons in two stints with the Bears from 1999-2003 and 2008, appearing in 82 games with 61 starts. He's tied for fourth in franchise history with 329 receptions and ranks eighth with 3,895 receiving yards. Booker set a Bears single-season record that has since been broken with 100 receptions in 2001 and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2002 when he posted his second straight 1,000-yard season.

Berrian played four seasons with the Bears, catching 150 passes for 2,197 yards and 13 TDs while appearing in 58 games with 32 starts. In the 2006 NFC Championship Game, he had five receptions for 85 yards including a key 33-yard TD that helped lift the Bears to a 39-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Bennett played all six of his NFL seasons with the Bears from 2008-13, catching 185 passes for 2,277 yards and 12 TDs while appearing in 78 games with 29 starts.

Other notable Bears third-round picks include:

Hugh Gallarneau, running back (1941)
Like Kavanaugh, Gallarneau's NFL career was interrupted by World War II. He was voted to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 1941 when he helped the Bears win the NFL title, rushing for 304 yards and a league-leading eight touchdowns on 49 carries. After serving in the Marine Corps during the war, Gallarneau returned to the Bears in 1945 and played three more seasons. He appeared in a total of 52 games with 33 starts over five seasons with the Monsters of the Midway.

Dave Duerson, safety (1983)
Duerson spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Bears, playing in 102 games with 76 starts and recording 18 interceptions and 16 sacks. A key member of the 1985 Super Bowl champions, Duerson was voted to four straight Pro Bowls from 1985-88. He later won a second Super Bowl with the Giants.

Jerry Fontenot, offensive lineman (1989)
Fontenot played his first eight NFL seasons with the Bears, appearing in 128 games with 89 starts primarily at center. He started all 16 games in each of his final five years with the Bears. Fontenot played eight more years after leaving Chicago, seven with the Saints and one with the Bengals.

Jim Flanigan, defensive tackle (1994)
Flanigan played his first seven NFL seasons with the Bears, recording 46 sacks while appearing in 108 games with 88 starts. He led the Bears in sacks with 11.0 in 1995, 6.0 in 1997 and 8.5 in 1998. The Notre Dame product also played fullback in short-yardage situations, catching four touchdown passes and scoring the first two-point conversion in Bears history on a reception.

Senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 third-round draft picks in Bears history.