A lot of time, late round draft picks are basically lottery tickets. But every once in a while, the big one hits and that has happened a good amount of times for the Chicago Bears. As of late there hasn’t been as many steals, but earlier in the franchise’s history they found a lot of success drafting late.
Let’s break down the five greatest draft steals in Chicago Bears history.
Honorable Mention: Johnny Morris, 1958, Round 12, Pick 137
Johnny Morris just missed the list, but there could be a big argument that he belongs on the list. After being a 12th round pick in the 1958 draft, Morris had a lot of success during his career with the Bears. Morris finished his career with 5,059 yards receiving, which is even more impressive because it was a run-first league back when he played.
5. George Blanda, 1949, Round 12, Pick 119
George Blanda was drafted in the 12th round of the 1949 draft by the Bears. Blanda was a do-it-all for the Bears playing quarterback, placekicker, and linebacker. Blanda’s stats weren’t all that impressive during his time with the Bears, and most of his success actually came after he left. The Bears stopped using Blanda at quarterback so he retired in 1959. He cane back in 1960 with the Houston Oilers and revived his career. Who knows how the Bears’ history would have been different if they would have allowed him to continue playing quarterback, even with the injury.
4. Joe Fortunato, 1952, Round 7, Pick 80
There have been some great linebackers that have played for the Chicago Bears in their career. And one that is often overlooked is Joe Fortunato. After being selected in the seventh round in the 1952 draft, Fortunato went on to play 12 years with the Bears. During his time, he was named to five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams. Tackles weren’t an official stat back when he played, but he finished his career with 16 interceptions and 22 forced fumbles.
3. Doug Buffone, 1966, Round 4, Pick 60
Doug Buffone might be a stretch to be on this list because he was selected in the fourth round. Even though there might be some controversy with this pick, he still belongs on the list because of how important he was to the team. He played during the same time as Dick Butkus, so he didn’t get the attention he deserved.
He played for the Bears for 15 seasons, having played the most games in the team’s history.
2. Danny Fortmann, 1936, Round 9, Pick 78
Danny Fortmanm was drafted with the fourth-to-last pick in the 1936 draft. The Bears’ owner at the time, George Halas drafted him because he liked the way his name sounded. He played guard for the Bears, and is one of the greatest players in their franchise’s history.
Every year from 1938-1943, Fortmann was named to the NFL’s All-Pro first team. He was named to the All-Decade team for the 1930’s too.
After he retired from the NFL, he became a team doctor for the Los Angeles Rams and a very popular surgeon. He was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1. Richard Dent, 1983, Round 8, Pick 203
Richard Dent had so much success with the Chicago Bears, he ended up in the Hall of Fame. Dent was a problem for opposing offensive lines and was constantly drawing more attention. Dent was the MVP of Super Bowl XX after the Bears beat the New England Patriots 46-10.
He was also apart of the Super Bowl Shuffle after the team won the Super Bowl. He was named to the All-Pro team five times. If it wasn’t for Dent’s success, the Bears probably would have not found as much success during the 1980’s.