As the NFL Draft approaches, Grizzly Detail is counting down the Top 30 draft picks in Chicago Bears history. In order to qualify for this list, a player must have worn a Bears uniform for at least five seasons (sorry Rosevelt Colvin and Wilber Marshall), and players who were selected in lower rounds of the draft will have an advantage in the countdown.
We wrap up the bottom half of our countdown with our #16 selection, as defensive end Alex Brown checks in.
Taken in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida, Brown was immediately thrust into a starting role for the Bears during the ’02 season, and proved to be a critical piece of the puzzle that eventually led the team to a Super Bowl berth in 2007. In eight seasons with the Bears, Brown started 107 games, racked up 43.5 sacks, picked off five passes, and deflected 40 more. He also forced 16 fumbles and recovered 11, and was known as one of the best pass rushers the Bears have had in recent memory.
Brown may not at first blush appear that he belongs in the same conversation as guys like Dan Hampton, but the numbers suggest that he is one of the best pass rushers in Bears history. His 43.5 career sacks rank him fourth on the all-time list among Bears defensive ends, and he was at the top of his game during the 2006 season. That defense, which is one of the most lethal in team history, backstopped the Bears to a Super Bowl berth, and Brown was right in the thick of it. He picked up a career high seven sacks that season, and also set career highs in interceptions (two) and forced fumbles (three). He also recorded 41 tackles that year.
Brown did have a couple more good seasons left in the tank in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, recording 12 sacks and 78 tackles between the two campaigns, but he ended up heading to New Orleans for the final season of his career in 2010.
For a time, Brown and former Bears teammate Dez Clark hosted a radio show in Chicago.
Brown definitely had an underrated career, and he is well deserving of a spot on this list. Fourth round picks are obviously far from sure things in the NFL, and his successful career is indicative of a guy who was well worth the investment that then-GM Jerry Angelo made when he picked him. He may have made it higher on the list if it hadn’t been for some of the legends in front of him, but that in no way should minimize the impact that he had on the team while he was in Chicago.