Chicago Bears Rookie Forecast 2024

Solid Starter

Caleb Williams, QB, USC – Round 1

The Bears decided to give up on veteran quarterback Justin Fields as he was a pick of the prior regime and the Chicago coaching staff was not able to develop Fields into a consistent passing quarterback. General manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus believe they can develop Williams into being an effective pro starter under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. There is no doubt that Williams has some incredible arm talent with special athleticism.

As a passer, Williams is a dynamic playmaker. He stands poised in the pocket showing composure and patience to let routes develop. When Williams decides to throw, he has a quick throwing motion with a fast arm whip. The most important attribute for any quarterback is accuracy and Williams has it showing the ability to fire passes by defenders into tight windows. With some natural feel and instincts, Williams is able to throw into tight spaces. In 2023, Williams deep ball accuracy was off a little as he left a number of passes short. If he improves his footwork and steps into throws these mechanical issues can be improved if not fixed.

Williams shows an impressive ability to alter his arm angle to fire balls through windows. When defenders leap to bat down passes, Williams will drop his arm to throw from the side or get very creative with quick flips from a standstill or even a jump pass if necessary. Williams off platform throws are very Pat Mahomes-esk and look very natural for him. On top of his ability to adjust and ad lib, Williams has a very strong arm and zero problem making all the throws necessary. Williams arm strength reminds me of Deshaun Watson where he can drive the ball downfield, but he puts air underneath his passes to make them drop in soft and catchable for his receivers.

What makes Williams really special is his ability to ad lib and his creativity is really incredible. Williams will hold onto the ball and let routes develop while showing his excellent mobility to dodge tacklers. He keeps his eyes downfield while scrambling and throws accurately on the run. Williams is incredibly dangerous when plays break down and he is very frustrating for defenses as they can execute everything correctly but Williams will ad lib his team into a big gain.

Williams also will take off running when nothing is open and he is a dangerous threat on the ground. He is a shifty runner with quickness and also shows toughness to run through some contact and break tackles. As a pro, he is going to need to do more sliding and protect himself from hits. Right now, Williams is too cavalier with dishing out hits, stiff arms, and running through tackles. Williams is going to need to be more protective of his head, right shoulder, and right arm in particular to avoid injuries. He isn’t a big quarterback, so he definitely needs to cut down on his physicality as a runner to help avoid injuries as a pro.

Like any college player, Williams has things he needs to improve for the NFL. Williams will need to get the ball out faster at the pro level. While his patience and composure is impressive, he makes life hard on his offensive linemen and he gives the defensive line too much time to generate pressure and hits on the quarterback. Williams will need to get faster with his processing and field vision to help get the ball out faster. That can be a common issues for shorter quarterbacks as they don’t always see clean throwing windows, but Williams must get the ball out faster as a pro quarterback. Getting the ball out faster is also going to help Williams stay healthy and reduce his injury risk along with avoiding sacks, fumbles, holding calls, etc. Along the same lines, Williams also will need to run smarter as a pro and reduce the number of hits he takes as a runner.

Along with improving his footwork and mechanics to improve his deep ball accuracy, Williams needs better ball security. He has had fumbling issues and he can be carrels with the ball at times.

Physically, Williams is everything the NFL is looking for a in a quarterback except for his height. In terms of make up, there are some concerns about Williams being a unique personality. He also is said to have a high maintenance family that has unrealistic expectations for his future pro team.

There are times when talented players are failed and ruined by bad NFL franchises. I wonder if that could happen with Williams. Under the McCaskey ownership, Chicago has never had an elite quarterback. The McCaskey’s have been completely incompetent in putting a good general manager and head coach in place to guide them to having an elite quarterback. In contrast, is something the Packers have thrived at being able to do. Like Fields, I think Williams is too talented to be a real bust. However I could see the Bears failing to develop him. I know from team sources, that Shane Waldron has problems and a lack of planning in his protection schemes. It would not surprise me if the Bears fail Williams and he tops out as a solid starter rather than a boom pick.

2023: Gervon Dexter Sr., DT
2022: Kyler Gordon, CB
2021: Teven Jenkins, OT
2020: Cole Kmet, TE
2019: Riley Ridley, WR
2018: James Daniels, C
2017: Eddie Jackson, S
2016: Jonathan Bullard, DE
2015: Eddie Goldman, DT
2014: Kyle Fuller, CB
2013: Jonathan Bostic, LB

Most Likely To Bust


The Bears were without a second-round pick thanks to a foolish trade last fall by general manager Brian Poles. A year earlier Poles made a horrible trade giving up a second-round pick (what ended up being 33rd overall) for bust wide receiver Chase Claypool. Last season he did it again giving up a second-round pick for Montez Sweat. While Sweat is a good defensive end, the Bears could have held onto the pick and signed Sweat in free agency. Even if they didn’t get Sweat signed, there were other quality defensive ends that could have been had like Jon Greenard, Chase Young, and Danielle Hunter. All of those players were cheaper than Sweat as well. Due to a lack of picks in the early-rounds, Chicago does not really have a bust candidate in my opinion.

2022: Tyrique Stevenson, CB
2022: Velus Jones, WR
2021: None
2020: None
2019: David Montgomery, RB
2018: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB
2017: Mitch Trubisky, QB
2016: Cody Whitehair, G
2015: Hroniss Grasu, C
2014: Ka’Deem Carey, RB
2013: Kyle Long, G

Potential Boom Pick

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington – Round 1

After taking Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall-pick, Chicago grabbed a weapon for Williams with the ninth-overall pick in taking Odunze. Along with D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen, Chicago has a trio of talented receivers to help Williams in his rookie season.

There is no doubt that Odunze (6-3, 201) is a mismatch receiver and a problem in coverage. He is a tremendous back shoulder receiver that is a superb weapon to work the sideline. Odunze uses his size to shield the ball from defenders and shows great concentration to make catches with cornerbacks battling him. Odunze is a phenomenal weapon to run fades and back shoulder go routes down the sideline.

Immediately, Odunze’s size and ability to win contested catches jumps out. Odunze is tall, long, lean, and has leaping ability to make contested catches over defensive backs. With a large catch radius, Odunze shows nice body control and the ability to adjust to high point the ball over corners to snatch passes for chunk completions. He makes catches in traffic routinely showing zero hesitation or fear knowing that hits are coming. Odunze has a natural ability to track the ball and has late hands to not tip off the ball is about to arrive to cornerbacks.

After the catch, Odunze is a nice contributor using his size to fight through tackles and pick up yards after contact. Odunze has good feel to know which way to break and cut after making a catch to give himself more space for yardage. Odunze is tough and physical as a runner showing the ability to run through defensive backs to get extra yardage. On wide receiver screens, Odunze is very capable to get upfield for good gains.

In Chicago, Odunze could eat up No. 2 cornerbacks as the No. 1s could be devoted to matchup on Moore. Odunze has real boom pick potential for Chicago.

2023: Darnell Wright
2022: Jaquan Brisker
2021: Justin Fields
2020: Jaylon Johnson
2019: None
2018: Roquan Smith, LB
2017: Adam Shaheen, TE
2016: Leonard Floyd, LB
2015: Kevin White, WR
2014: Will Sutton, DT
2013: Khaseem Greene, LB

Future Depth Player

Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale – Round 3

The Bears believed in left tackle Braxton Jones enough to pass on taking an offensive tackle at pick 9, or signing an experienced starter in free agency. They did however add some depth with the selection of Amegadjie in the third round. Amegadjie is a nice prospect with upside, but he will need significant development time with a huge jump in competition. Amegadjie may not break through as a starter, but he could turn into a nice swing tackle backup at the NFL level.

2023: Roschon Johnson, RB
2022: Braxton Jones, OT
2021: Khalil Herbert, RB
2020: Trevis Gipson, DE
2019: Kerrith Whyte, DL
2018: Bilal Nichols, DL
2017: Tarik Cohen, RB
2016: Nick Kwiatkoski, LB
2015: Jeremy Langford, RB
2014: David Fales, QB
2013: Cornelius Washington, DE