No. 20 overall pick with Bears filled with history


by - Staff Writer -
Pace needs a solid 2021 NFL draft (Kamil Krzacznski - USA Today Sports)
Pace needs a solid 2021 NFL draft (Kamil Krzacznski - USA Today Sports)

With the 20th pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Chicago Bears select. That is what Roger Goodell will be saying later this month as the Bears are nearly ready to make their first-round selection. A lot can change from now until then, including the possibility that the Bears move up or down in the first round or, heaven forbid, out of the first round altogether.

Picking in the top 20 comes with its perks and disadvantages.

Starting with disadvantages, that is typically the range where a lot of the elite talent is off the board, and you get in the area of drafting the best available player. Yes, starters come from this group, but this is when needs often go out the window.

An advantage from picking in this area would be that typically you are a playoff team if you wind in this area. That means that the rest of your roster isn't all that far away, and the team is just hoping to plug the holes surrounding the rest of this roster.

Considering the NFL draft is seven rounds, here are seven interesting facts about the Bears' history with the 20th pick.

The Bears drafted Eddie Macon as the first African American-born player in franchise history

The year was 1952, and the Bears held the 20th pick in the draft, and it was time for them to make a statement. Macon was the statement as the running back, and special teamer was selected as the first black player in team history.

Although his career in Chicago was limited, Macon did produce when on the field. Macon appeared in 23 games over two seasons with the Bears. He averaged 30.5 yards on 22 kickoff returns and 5.9 yards on 24 punt returns while also rushing for 324 yards and two touchdowns on 70 carries and catching 14 passes for 49 yards and 2 TDs.

Bears picked Kyle Long

The last time the Bears picked 20th was in 2013 where they took All-Pro lineman Kyle Long. From the moment he stepped on the field for Chicago, Long was not only a fixture on the line but for the entire community. He was also the first Bears since Famer Brian Urlacher's hall to be voted to the Pro Bowl his first three seasons.

Long announced his retirement from football last year as his injury history started to get the best of him. Since he has said, he would like to play again and has now come out of retirement.

No quarterback has ever been drafted No. 20

Ever since the draft was adopted in 1936, no QB has ever been selected with that pick. That isn't just in terms of Bears history but NFL history also. Quarterbacks have come close, going 19, 21,22, etc., the 20th selection has been unkind to QB's.

With a projected five if not six QB's to be taken in the first round this year, could this be the year where a QB goes No. 20 for the first time. The Bears hold the keys for that to happen, and it would have to fall on a guy like Mac Jones or Kyle Trask should that happen.

Three Hall of Famers at No. 20 overall

Much like fact three, this is also a fact that is more NFL regarded over the Bears. Since the inception of the draft, three Hall of Famers have been taken with the no. 20 overall selection. Those players include Forrest Gregg (1956), Jack Youngblood (1971), and Steve Atwater (1989).

Gregg should be the one most well-known for Bears fans spending 14 of his 15-year career with the Green bay Packers. He was a seven-time first-team all-pro who was inducted into the hall of fame in 1970. Youngblood spent his entire career with the Rams and was a defensive stud. A five-time all pro and seven-time pro bowler was part of the all-decade team for the 1970s.

Atwater was an 11-year pro who spent 10 of those seasons with the Broncos. He was a two-time first-team all-pro and was voted to eight pro bowls. Atwater was also selected to all decade's team for the 1990s.

Only two No. 20 picks since 2009 have made the Pro Bowl

Since 2009, only two of the No. 20 picks have made the Pro Bowl Long was the first in 2013, with Frank Ragnow of the Lions the last one to make in 2018.

That is a small list when you look at who was taken during the same time frame.

The other 10 players taken at No. 20 over that span are Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson (2010), Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn (2011), Titans receiver Kendall Wright (2012), Saints receiver Brandin Cooks (2014), Eagles receiver Nelson Agholar (2015), Jets linebacker Darren Lee (2016), Broncos tackle Garett Bolles (2017), Broncos tight end Noah Fant (2019) and Jaguars defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson (2020).

The 20th pick has been traded each of the past two years

We all know how much the Bears love to make trades during draft weekend, so keep your eye on that again. The 20th pick is one of the more movable picks in the draft hence why it has been traded each of the last two years.

In 2019, the Broncos chose Fant at No. 20 after trading down 10 spots in the first round. The Steelers moved up to No. 10 to pick linebacker Devin Bush, sending their first- and second-round picks and a 2020 third-round selection to Denver. In 2020, the Jaguars took Chaisson with a choice they acquired Oct. 15, 2019, from the Rams in exchange for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Los Angeles also sent its 2021 first-and fourth-round picks to Jacksonville in the deal.

The Bears have drafted seven times at No. 20, including three straight from 1961-63

In addition to Long and Macon, who were mentioned above, the Bears have selected HB Billy Grimes (1949), RB Bill Brown (1961), Tackle Clyde Brock (1962), Tackle Steve Barnett (1963), and Defensive End Dave Gallagher in (1974). None of those five players remained with the Bears for more than one season, though Barnett appeared in 13 games with seven starts for the 1963 NFL championship team.

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