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Who is best Bears draft pick ever?

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Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Who do you think is the best draft pick in Bears history?

Brian G.
Indiana

I believe that Walter Payton, Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers are the three best players in Bears history (in that order), so I wouldn't argue with any of them being considered the team's best draft pick. But because all three of them were top-four picks in the draft, I'm going to say that the best Bears draft pick of all time was Richard Dent, an eighth-round selection in 1983. Dent slipped in the draft because he did not play against top competition at Tennessee State and weighed only 224 pounds primarily due to a problem with his teeth that limited what he could eat. Nonetheless, Bears scout described Dent as the best pure pass rusher he graded in the draft, and the rest is history. Dent was named MVP of Super Bowl XX, remains the Bears' all-time sacker leader with 124.5 and was induced into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

I cannot recall the last time the first two picks in the draft were traded. When did that happen and who was selected?

Peter S.
Lincolnwood, Illinois

This year is the fourth time that the top two picks in the draft have been traded. The last time was in 1997 when the Rams made a deal with the Jets to take tackle Orlando Pace at No. 1 and the Raiders picked up the No. 2 choice from the Saints to choose defensive tackle Darrell Russell. In 1975, the Falcons acquired the No. 1 pick from the Colts to select quarterback Steve Bartkowski and the Cowboys traded with the Giants to take defensive tackle Randy White. The Bears chose Walter Payton at No. 4 that year after the Colts drafted guard Ken Huff at No. 3. In 1967, the Colts made a deal with the Saints to pick defensive tackle Bubba Smith at No. 1 and the Vikings acquired the second choice from the Giants to select running back Clint Jones, who played with Smith at Michigan State.

Reading the stories about the top Bears players drafted in each round made me wonder who the team's all-time interception leader is, and when was the last time a Bears player had at least 10 picks in a season?

Jaykay
Sydney, Australia

Safety Gary Fencik is the Bears' all-time leader with 38 career interceptions in 12 seasons from 1976-87, but you won't read about him in my stories about the team's top draft picks. Fencik was actually selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 10th round of the 1976 draft after playing wide receiver at Yale. He was released by the Dolphins and picked up by the Bears. The only Bears player to reach double digits in interceptions in a season is safety Mark Carrier, who led the NFL with 10 as a rookie in 1990.

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