NFL Draft Round 1 Grades: Bears hit home run with Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze

What a night for Chicago.
2024 NFL Draft - Portraits
2024 NFL Draft - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

At the risk of being a prisoner of the moment, Thursday night was a franchise-changing moment for the Bears. It's not even like they did anything surprising – both Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze were consistently mocked to the Bears, and the only real "surprise" was Odunze actually falling all the way to 9.

Still – imagining it and actually seeing it happen are different things entirely, and the Bears are now set up for the future in a way they haven't been in a lonnnnnnnng time. (Maybe ever?) Even with only two picks left for the entire weekend, this year's draft was a home run. Here's how their Round 1 Draft grades out, in case you were curious about that sort of thing. Will it be an A or an A+?! The mystery!

NFL Draft Round 1 Grades

A. QB, USC. . Caleb Williams. Round 1, Pick 1:

The obvious pick of all obvious picks. Williams was always the Bears' guy, and after they picked him, more than one insider reported that the team never once seriously considered any other option. And while that's a wonderful anecdote to tell after the guy's on your team, it does seem to line up with how they treated the pre-draft process. Williams was the only QB they took serious meetings with, and both sides' refusal to admit the obvious in the final days leading up to the draft was almost farcical. (You obviously have to do it the way they did, but still, it was silly.)

He's one of, if not the, best prospect since Andrew Luck, and joins an offense that's tailor-made to make him shine. Expectations will be through the roof, but it's not like that's anything new for him. Bears GM Ryan Poles has done a masterful job rebuilding this roster, and Williams is best move yet. Nothing's ever a sure thing, but Williams feels destined for stardom in Chicago.

Round 1, Pick 9. A+. WR, Washington. . Rome Odunze

Given how unreliable first round wide receivers have proven to be historically, giving this an A+ feels a little risky. But it's hard to ignore the fact that the Bears were able to get BOTH of's 1st and 3rd best prospects, the latter of which came six slots below his true draft value. Even though Odunze had been mocked to the Bears a fair amount earlier in the process, the idea of hime being there at 9 felt far-fetched by the time that Draft Day actually arrived. And yet, the Bears got him. The Bears got him.

Now he joins an offense where he's conservatively the 3rd best pass-catcher. Because of that, it'll be interesting to see how prolific of a rookie season he has. But he has TONS of star potential, and there's a legitimate chance that the Bears have a Pro Bowl talent who doesn't actually start many games this year. He'll be a matchup nightmare for defenses, and can fill that true X receiver role that neither Keenan Allen or DJ Moore are exactly right for. The Bears' offense is going to be fun.