Bears select QB Caleb Williams with No. 1 pick in NFL draft

Bears select QB Caleb Williams with No. 1

The presumptive top pick for months, Caleb Williams is officially headed to the Windy City. The Chicago Bears selected Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday in Detroit. Eight selections later, the Bears added to Williams’ arsenal by selecting Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze with the No. 9 overall pick of the draft. Heralded as a generational talent, the University of Southern California product boasts rare traits that made him the expected first pick of the draft since winning the Heisman Trophy in 2022.

2024 NFL Draft grades: Why Bears picking Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall was a no-brainer for Chicago

2024 NFL Draft grades: Why Bears picking Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall was a no-brainer for Chicago
2024 NFL Draft grades: Why Bears picking Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall was a no-brainer for Chicago

Williams owns keen pocket awareness and the mobility to extend plays and make jaw-dropping splashes look pedestrian. The 6-foot-1 QB combines accuracy and velocity to reach any area of the field. He can throw from an array of arm angles to create lanes and possesses the ability to make plays off-platform. Williams’ ability to deliver the pigskin with touch and accuracy, often layering the ball over defenders, translates ideally to the next level. His ability to read pressure, get the ball out quickly and threaten the defense with his mobility makes Williams a menace in the RPO game.

The 22-year-old signal-caller couples instinctual passing traits with dynamic playmaking ability with his feet. Williams avoids initial pressure, buys time and creates big plays on the ground. His athletic frame allows him to evade tacklers, run through smaller defenders and make opponents whiff in space, setting up home-run scampers. His running ability also makes him deadly in the red zone.

The vivacious passing talent and instinctive rushing ability made Williams a shoo-in top quarterback prospect.

It’s not all roses and cherry blossoms for the Washington, D.C., native. Williams, like all rookie quarterbacks, is still developing. At times, he holds the ball too long, hunting for the big play. The tendency to seek out splash plays led to a load of sacks in college. Williams tends to lean on his rushing ability often instead of taking the easy checkdown. Like most rookies, he needs to avoid getting stuck on his No. 1 read, moving more swiftly through the progression. At the NFL level, where big-play hunters can wither on the vine, Williams must become more consistent remaining on schedule within the offense. He also needs to improve his ball security in the pocket and on the run after fumbling issues peaked in 2023.

The Bears are betting on Williams’ extreme upside finally ending their string of futility at the quarterback position.

Not since the days of Sid Luckman have the Bears had a consistently dynamic signal-caller who was undoubtedly one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Even as Jim McMahon led the Bears to a Super Bowl victory, he wasn’t a top-15 passer. Since the turn of the Millennium, Chicago has seen the likes of Jim Miller, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Jay Cutler, Mitchell Trubisky and, most recently, Justin Fields attempt to stop the generational string of substandard quarterback play that yarned its way from the 1950s.



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