A+ marks all around: Grading the Chicago Bears first round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Chicago Bears made out like bandits at the 2024 NFL Draft.

Here's how we grade both of the Bears' first round selections:

Round 1, Pick 1: USC QB Caleb Williams

Grade: A+

For the first time in franchise history, the Bears have selected a quarterback at No. 1 overall.

In doing so, the Bears have taken a generational quarterback prospect. Williams was the player to take, and the Bears did not balk.

They could have taken Drake Maye, the traditional prospect, or Jayden Daniels, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Williams' 2023 season wasn't what Williams wanted it to be – USC went 7-5 and was out of the running for the College Football Playoff by November – but that wasn't Williams' fault.

USC's defense was atrocious. The Bears' defense is on the rise.

Williams was responsible for 92 passing touchdowns at USC. He was a magician in the open field and could escape any danger in the pocket while also having a precise arm in the intermediate and deep passing game.

Quarterbacks like Williams don't come around often. As everything played out with the Bears after their trade with the Carolina Panthers, Chicago was able to set themselves up for the future with one of their most significant picks in franchise history.

This was a can't miss pick for the Bears. The Bears did not miss.

Round 1, Pick 9: Washington WR Rome Odunze

Grade: A+

This pick came down to Odunze and Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner. Both would elicit an A grade. Both are the kind of blue-chip type players that Bears general manager Ryan Poles wanted to draft in the first round.

Picking Odunze was a statement. The Bears are no longer okay with having one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

Odunze gets an A+ because he instantly lifts the Bears offense. He gives Williams one of the best groups of offensive weapons in the NFC, and arguably one of the best groups of offensive weapons the Bears have ever had.

There was a year where the Bears had Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, Earl Bennett, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall. This group of Odunze, Keenan Allen, DJ Moore, Cole Kmet, Gerald Everett and D'Andre Swift trumps that group.

The Bears sent a message to the rest of the league that their rookie quarterback will have every opportunity to succeed from Day 1 at Halas Hall.

Odunze is a production machine to pair with his massive size. He caught 92 passes for 1,640 yards, 17.8 yards per catch and 13 touchdowns. That's a massive receiving threat over the middle as a true X-receiver, the kind of player that can thrive on the outside.

Odunze will also have plenty of guidance with the receiver room that has Allen and Moore. Odunze is the long-term answer for the Bears at wide receiver.


Column: Why Caleb Williams' selection is the coronation for the Chicago Bears' historic week

The franchise has shown us their idea of what the future of the Chicago Bears will be. It's modern. It's a deviation from the past. It's a commitment to change the negatives which have plagued the Bears for years.