Recent history of 20th overall pick

LB Tamba Hali (Harry How/Getty)

Bear Report looks back at the past 20 players selected with the 20th overall pick to clearer define expectations from the Chicago Bears' first-round pick in this year's draft.

The Chicago Bears, after finishing 10-6 last season, have the 20th overall selection in this year's draft. Each year, 12 of 32 NFL teams make the playoffs, picks 21-32. So in essence, having the 20th pick means you were the best team not to make the playoffs the previous season.

Looking back at Chicago's 2012 campaign, that sounds about right.

The 2013 NFL Draft is less than a month away and, as always, much of the focus revolves around the first round, where impact players are typically found. But what can we expect from the 20th pick, where the talent drop off usually begins?

With that in mind, we look back at the players selected 20th overall in the last 20 drafts to help us clearer define our expectations for the Bears' first-round pick.

1993 New Orleans Saints – TE Irv Smith, Notre Dame
1994 Miami Dolphins – DT Tim Bowens, Mississippi
1995 Detroit Lions – DE Luther Elliss, Utah
1996 Miami Dolphins – DT Daryl Gardener, Baylor
1997 Minnesota Vikings – LB Dwayne Rudd, Alabama
1998 Detroit Lions – CB Terry Fair, Tennessee
1999 Dallas Cowboys – DE Ebenezer Ekuban, North Carolina
2000 Detroit Lions – T Stockar McDougle, Oklahoma
2001 St. Louis Rams – S Adam Archuleta, Arizona State
2002 Green Bay Packers – WR Javon Walker, Florida State
2003 Denver Broncos – T George Foster, Georgia
2004 Minnesota Vikings – DE Kenechi Udeze, USC
2005 Dallas Cowboys – DE Marcus Spears, Louisiana State
2006 Kansas City Chiefs – DE Tamba Hali, Penn State
2007 New York Giants – CB Aaron Ross, Texas
2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Aqib Talib, Kansas
2009 Detroit Lions – TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
2010 Houston Texans – CB Kareem Jackson, Alabama
2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
2012 Tennessee Titans – WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

Positions selected: 6 DE, 4 CB, 2 DT, 2 TE, 2 WR, 2 OT, 1 LB, 1 S
Positions not selected: G, C, RB, QB
Pro Bowl players: Tamba Hali (3), Tim Bowens (2), Luther Elliss (2), Javon Walker (1)
Total Pro Bowl appearances: 8
All-Pro players: Dwayne Rudd, Tamba Hali Rookie of the Year: Tim Bowens

Based on recent history, it's unlikely the Bears will be selecting an interior offensive lineman, quarterback or running back in the first round. In fact, teams have been much more inclined to take defensive players with the 20th pick, with 14 of the past 20 picks being defenders.

More than anything, this list tells us to temper our expectations. In every offseason, fans believe the first-round draft pick can greatly enhance their team and propel them to the Super Bowl. It's the reason so much time and effort is spent evaluating and debating first-round prospects. Yet the reality is these players, particularly in the bottom half of the first round, are not slam dunks. In fact, you're more likely to land a mediocre player as you are a Pro Bowler.

Of the last 20 players selected at 20th overall, just four made a Pro Bowl at some point in their career, and only two were named All Pro. That means the Bears have a 20-percent chance of picking a Pro Bowler in this year's draft. And if you're looking for multiple Pro Bowlers, your odds drop to 15 percent.

This is by no means a set standard. Every player in every draft is different but by dissecting the past 20 picks, we have provided a large enough sample size to accurately project the type of player Chicago will draft in less than a month. While he should be a quality starter, one who can improve the team for years to come, expecting an All-Pro player is being overly optimistic. It's not impossible for the Bears to grab a Hall-of-Fame player in a few weeks, it's just highly unlikely.


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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