2024 NFL Draft proves Chicago Bears still value athleticism

Chicago Bears Introduce Quarterback Caleb Williams And Wide Receiver Rome Odunze
Chicago Bears Introduce Quarterback Caleb Williams And Wide Receiver Rome Odunze / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

With the 2024 NFL draft in the books, the Chicago Bears ended up taking five players in this year's draft. There was a big debate on whether Bears general manager Ryan Poles would trade down to get more picks in this draft since they only had four to start the draft. Although he did not trade down, he did trade a 2025 pick to move into the 5th round. Throughout the draft, it seemed Poles made it a point to fill a positional need by taking the best player available.

Poles has a track record of selecting highly athletic players with a lot of potential in recent years. Pre-draft analysis usually involves evaluating a player's athleticism and potential, which can be determined by reviewing their tape and combine performance. The NFL's Next Gen Stats provide a composite score that takes into account both a player's production and athletic ability, allowing for a comparison of how well they perform against players at their position. Production score is used to assess a player's college performance, while athletic score measures their physical abilities. By combining these scores, Next Gen Stats can provide a total score for each player.

Looking at the 2024 Bears draft class scores

QB Caleb Williams, USC

The Bears selected Caleb Williams as the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Williams was a stellar USC quarterback, winning the Heisman in 2022. According to Next Gen Stats, Williams scored a 98 production score and an 89 athletic score, which resulted in a total score of 96. With these scores, Williams ranks, among quarterbacks, first in production score, third in athletic score, and first in total score. According to these scores, Williams was the best-rated player in the draft.

WR Rome Odunze, Washington

With the 9th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears selected Rome Odunze. Odunze was a very sought-after prospect heading into the draft, so it was no surprise the Bears were thrilled he was available at nine. Odunze scored a 91 production score and an 85 athleticism score, for a total score of 91. Odunze ranks, among wide receivers, third in production score, tenth in athletic score, and second in total score.

OT Kiran Amegadjie, Yale

The Chicago Bears selected Kiran Amegadjie in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Amegadjie is an exciting prospect and is considered a prospect who could develop into a starter in this league. Amegadjie scored a 72 in production score and a 78 in athletic score, resulting in a 76 in total score. Amegadjie ranks among offensive tackles 9th in production score, 15th in athletic score, and 10th in total score. These numbers are very promising for a player who did not play Power 5 football and is part of an excellent offensive line draft.

EDGE Austin Booker, Kansas

The Chicago Bears traded a 2025 pick to move into the fifth round of the 2024 draft to select Austin Booker. Booker has drawn some very nice pro comps from draft analysts and will likely develop into a starter. Booker scored a 72 in production score and a 53 in athletic score, giving him a total score of 66. Booker ranks among edge rushers,10th in production, 26th in athletic score, and 16th in total score. Booker was a playmaker on defense for Kansas last year and although he has a low athletic score, he tends to show more athleticism in a game than in his testing.

The Chicago Bears also drafted Punter Tory Taylor from Iowa but he has no scores posted. Taylor is thought to be the best punter in the draft and someone who can instantly impact special teams for the Bears.

Poles has made it a point to draft guys with solid scores for the spot in the draft they are in. This means he tends to be patient and not reach for talent while also making sure not to miss out on his guys.