NFL

Bears select quarterback Williams with first pick of NFL draft

By Sports Desk April 25, 2024

The Chicago Bears believe they've found their franchise quarterback.

In what had been expected for months, the Bears selected Southern California's Caleb Williams with the first overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Williams had widely been viewed as a generational quarterback and the most complete QB prospect in decades.

He now arrives in Chicago to take over a franchise that has been starving for an elite signal-caller.

 

He joins the Bears after staring at USC, where he won the 2022 Heisman Trophy as the top collegiate player in the United States.

After throwing for 4,537 yards with 42 touchdowns and five interceptions in 14 games in 2022, he threw for 3,633 yards with 30 TDs and five picks in 12 games last year.

In his two seasons with the Trojans, he completed 67.5 per cent of his passes and averaged 9.20 yards per attempt.

Williams is the total package – possessing exceptional arm strength and overall athleticism, able to make plays with his arm and his legs. Groomed from a young age to be pro quarterback, Williams processes opposing defences at a high level, making good decisions with his reads and throwing an accurate, deep ball.

The Bears had zeroed in on Williams after meeting with him in Los Angeles in March, followed by his visit to Chicago's practice facility earlier this month. The Bears were the only NFL team Williams visited, and the only quarterback Chicago hosted, making it blatantly obvious the team was going to draft him first.

The Bears also made it clear they were in the market for a quarterback after trading Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in mid-March.

Fields was the 11th overall pick of the 2021 draft, and though he was well liked by his team-mates and the fanbase and had the ability for dazzling, highlight-reel plays, he was an uneven passer and was unable to elevate Chicago's offence.

The Bears ranked 27th in passing offence with an average of 182.1 yards per game in 2023, while going 7-10.

Williams steps into a solid situation with Chicago, as he'll team with new running back D'Andre Swift, a pair of proven wide receivers in DJ Moore and off-season pickup Keenan Allen, and has the luxury of joining a team with a formidable defence.

The Bears' trade for Moore last off-season helped the franchise draft first overall for the first time since 1947.

Chicago traded away last year's top pick to the Carolina Panthers for Moore and four draft picks – one of which turned out to be the No. 1 pick they used to draft Williams.

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