Bears Land No. 1 Overall Pick For First Time in More Than 70 Years

Bears Land No. 1 Overall Pick For First Time in More Than 70 Years
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Chicago Bears locked up something the franchise hasn’t secured in 76 years on Sunday, thanks to losing to Minnesota.

The team’s latest defeat, combined with the Houston Texans’ surprise win over Indianapolis, secured the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, as the Bears finished the year with the league’s worst win percentage (.176).

Matt Eberflus’ squad finished with a 3-14 record, coming up well short of the 6.5 victories that oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois pegged it at before the season.

As a result, the Bears hold the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft for the first time since 1947, when they selected Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) halfback Bob Fenimore. It won’t be long before there will be Illinois sports betting odds on the pick.

IllinoisBet.com wanted to see how the Bears’ first shot at the top pick in the NFL draft in three-quarters of a century could go, based on the two previous instances where the franchise held such a spot in the event.

Bears First Overall Draft Picks Through the Years

1941: Tom Harmon (Halfback from Michigan) 

  • Never played for the Bears (served in World War II). Played two seasons (1946-47) with L.A. Rams
  • Stats: 107 rushes for 542 yards, three rushing touchdowns/15 receptions, 288 yards, three receiving touchdowns

1947: Bob Fenimore (HB from Oklahoma A&M) 

  • Played one season in NFL with Bears in 1947
  • Stats: 53 rushes, 189 yards, one rushing touchdown/15 receptions, 219 yards, two touchdowns 

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How the Bears' 2023 Top Pick Compares With Previous Selections

If you’re looking for something to take to the bank on Illinois sports betting apps — unlike the Bears' previous two No. 1 overall picks, the team’s top choice in 2023 will almost certainly not be a running back.

The last back to be the top overall pick was Ki-Jana Carter out of Penn State in 1995. He was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals. In the 27 drafts since Carter’s name was called, there have been 18 quarterbacks, five defensive ends, three offensive tackles and a single wide receiver (Keyshawn Johnson in 1996) taken with the top pick.

As for who the Bears could go with at No. 1, a pair of mock drafts show varying directions for the franchise — with Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports predicting Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, while PFF’s Michael Renner sees Chicago trading the top pick to Indianapolis, who in turn select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

In Renner’s mock draft, the Bears still wind up drafting Carter with the fourth pick that they acquire from the Colts.  

As for the Bears’ previous No. 1 overall picks, Harmon never suited up for the team, serving in World War II before playing two years with the L.A. Rams in 1946 and 1947.  

Fenimore didn’t provide much more for the franchise, either, playing one season in Chicago before injuries forced him to retire at the age of 22. 

Keep tabs with Illinois sportsbooks to see how the odds on this draft pick will change over time.

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Contributors

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at IllinoisBet.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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