Bears fans looking to calibrate their expectations for this week’s draft — in which the Bears are slated to make their first two picks at Nos. 43 and 50 overall in the second round — can take one of two tacks.
The optimist can look at the stars taken from No. 40 to No. 50 in the last decade. Former Patriot Rob Gronkowski might be the best tight end ever. Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner is a future Pro Football Hall of Famer. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas caught 149 passes last year, the most in the history of the sport.
The pessimist, though, can look at the Bears’ exact picks — Nos. 43 and 50 — and come away feeling less confident the team can land standouts.
Here’s a look at notable players drafted with Picks 43 and 50:
The Hall of Famers: QB Sonny Jurgensen and OT Dan Dierdorf.
Drafted by the Eagles in 1957, Jurgensen was best known as a member of the Redskins, for whom he began playing in 1964. He won three passing titles, including in his final season at 40.
Dierdorf was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971 and played all 13 seasons with the franchise. Later generations know him best as a co-host on “Monday Night Football.”
The star: WR Muhsin Muhammad.
Taken by the Panthers in 1996, Muhammad led the league with 102 catches in 2000 and 1,405 yards in 2004. Then he went to the Bears. From 2005 to 2007, he struggled to match his lofty numbers with the Panthers, even telling Sports Illustrated that Chicago is where “receivers go to die.” He returned to Carolina for his last two years.
Standouts: Running back Corey Dillon (Bengals, 1997) is the only modern-era player, besides Dierdorf, to reach more than two Pro Bowls. He still ranks in the top 22 in all-time attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Rudolph (Vikings, 2011), safety Roman Harper (Saints, 2006), running back Glyn Milburn (Broncos, 1993), wide receiver Webster Slaughter (Browns, 1986) and Muhammad made two Pro Bowls each.
The last five years: Linebacker Jahlani Tavai (Lions, 2019), running back Kerryon Johnson (Lions, 2018), cornerback Sidney Jones (Eagles, 2017), nose tackle Austin Johnson (Titans, 2016), linebacker Benardrick McKinney (Texans, 2015).
Bears in history: Billy Martin (1960), Mike Spivey (1977).
The Hall of Famers: LB Willie Lanier and DT Art Donovan.
Drafted by the Chiefs in 1967, Lanier -became the first African American star at middle linebacker, helping to lead his team to a Super Bowl IV upset of the Vikings.
Donovan was a nimble giant for the Baltimore Colts who became the first pure -defensive tackle inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — and later a self-deprecating TV star.
The star: DE Calais Campbell.
Selected by the Cardinals in 2008, the defensive end’s career peaked relatively late in life. The 33-year-old has made the Pro Bowl the last three years and last season earned the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The Jaguars signed Campbell to a four-year, $60 million contract in 2017 and traded him to the Ravens for a fifth-round pick in March. He might be the best run-defending defensive lineman on the planet.
Standouts: Defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry — the Fridge’s brother — went to six Pro Bowls in a 10-year career that began when the Browns drafted him in 1988. Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill (Chargers, 2006) and guard Tom Newberry (Rams, 1986) are the only others to make more than one Pro Bowl.
The last five years: Tight end Irv Smith Jr. (Vikings, 2019), offensive tackle Connor Williams (Cowboys, 2018), safety Justin -Evans (Buccaneers, 2017), guard Nick Martin (Texans, 2016), safety Ronald Darby (Bills, 2015).
Bears in history: Ted Christofferson (1936), Bob Masterson (1938), Harry Burrus (1942), Wayne Shaw (1945), Dom Papaleo (1950), Jon Bostic (2013).