Breaking down the Bears’ 2024 draft picks

The Chicago Bears selected five players during the 2024 NFL draft, which included landing two of the draft’s best players in quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Rome Odunze at first and ninth overall, respectively.

Those two picks already made this draft a slam dunk for Chicago. But then they shored up the offensive line with hometown kid Kiran Amegadjie in the third round, landed a generational punter in Tory Taylor in the fourth round and a potential fifth-round steal in edge rusher Austin Booker on Days 2 and 3.

Now that Chicago has its 2024 draft class in place, it’s time dive in and take a look at what the Bears have in their new rookies.

We’re taking a closer look at the Bears’ draft class, including breakdowns, player profiles, scouting reports from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and comments from the Bears on all five selections.

Breakdown: Williams is a player with a skill set that perfectly aligns with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s vision. Williams brings an impressive combination of precision passing – especially off-platform, the agility to evade defenders, and a fiery competitive spirit. Williams will be the starting quarterback right out of the gate, and the Bears have already equipped him with the necessary support to excel. This isn’t just a draft pick; it’s a statement. — Nate Atkins

Brugler’s scouting report: “A two-year starter at USC, Williams was a playmaking quarterback in head coach Lincoln Riley’s RPO, spread scheme with Air Raid concepts (Y-Cross, mesh, etc.) and heavy play action (38.5 percent in 2023). One of the most decorated and productive players in USC’s rich football history, he set single-season school records for passing yards and touchdowns in 2022 and accounted for more plays of 20-plus yards (134) and 50-plus yards (20) than any other college player over the last two seasons. With his base and body balance, Williams is always in a “ready-to-throw” position to deliver throws anywhere on the field with velocity and accuracy. What makes him special is his poise and mobility to masterfully buy time and create second-chance plays, although he tends to be overconfident in his ability to find answers among the chaos. He led the FBS in touchdowns (120) and “wow” plays over the last three years, but he also led the country in fumbles (33) over that same span and needs to take better care of the football. Overall, Williams needs to be more consistent working on-schedule from the pocket, but you live with the hiccups because the positives are special with his dynamic passing skills and instinctive ability to create. Though stylistically he is like a really impressive karaoke-style version of Patrick Mahomes, he is truly unique as a playmaker.”

They said it: “He’s got special instincts, awareness, especially in the pocket to manipulate the pocket, get in and out of the pocket, spatial, a feel for space is special. That’s his special sauce. Then once we kind of speed things up and start to identify different coverages … there’s an adjustment to an NFL offense that he’s got to go through as well. We’re really excited to work with the tools he has.” — GM Ryan Poles

RAS card

Grade: A+

Breakdown: Odunze’s physicality and ability to win contested catches make him an ideal target in the red zone and on third downs. His strong hands and body allow him to make difficult catches in traffic, providing a reliable option for the quarterback when the play breaks down. Odunze’s size also makes him an effective blocker in the running game, which is crucial in Waldron’s scheme, which relies heavily on the outside run. — Nate Atkins

Brugler’s scouting report: “A three-year starter at Washington, Odunze primarily lined up outside in former offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb’s spread scheme (75 percent wide, 25 percent slot over his career). His production improved each season, including an All -America 2023 campaign with an FBS-best 1,640 receiving yards and an elite first down/touchdown rate (80.4 percent). Odunze is field fast with fluid route running and above-average tracking/adjustment skills to secure catches in high-trafficked areas or create explosive plays downfield (32 catches of 20-plus yards in 2023, second most in the FBS). His body control at the catch point has always been a strength, but he took major strides in 2023 with his ability to play through contact and use focused concentration to win 50 -50 balls. Overall, Odunze is an above average height/weight/speed athlete with the pass-catching instincts and competitive focus to be a playmaking NFL receiver. He projects as a true X receiver and has the skill level to elevate his quarterback’s play (stylistically similar to Drake London).”

They said it: “Man, I don’t know where to start with that guy. First of all, a human being, what a great guy. Work ethic, just blue collar in the way he goes about things. But as a receiver, he can line [up] anywhere: inside, outside. You love his ability to finish in contested situations. Plays strong, plays big, run-after-catch is very good. He’s a punt returner as well. I mean, the kid’s just put time in and he got better and better every single year and he’s a winner. He can impact the game at any moment. If you’re at quarterback, and you’re in doubt, you want to just go give a guy an opportunity to go finish, he’s your guy. He’s done that consistently.” — GM Ryan Poles

RAS card

Grade: A

Breakdown: Amegadjie has the versatility to play guard, having played multiple positions along the offensive line during his collegiate career. He started his first 10 games at left guard before switching to left tackle for his final 14 games. Amegadjie has a nice blend of size, athleticism and length, but he needs time to develop. Perhaps Amegadjie can push starting left tackle Braxton Jones, who has plenty to prove heading into his third season, and work his way into a starting role down the line. — Alyssa Barbieri

Brugler’s scouting report: “A three-year starter at Yale, Amegadjie lined up at left tackle the last two seasons in Yale’s multiple run scheme. After not playing football until midway through high school, he put himself on the NFL radar with his ascending play in the Ivy League, although his season-ending injury in 2023 was disappointing — he missed half of his final season and NFL scouts were unable to see him face better competition at the Senior Bowl. From a size and athletic standpoint, Amegadjie pops on film, because of his rare length, light feet and smooth body control to mirror pass rushers or create momentum as a run blocker. Though he does a great job repositioning his hands and feet, his inexperience is also apparent when it comes to timing and adjustment fundamentals. Overall, Amegadjie is a raw prospect who needs technical and strength work before he sees live NFL reps, but his physical ingredients and competitive drive are the foundational elements that pro coaches want to develop. He projects as a backup left tackle as a rookie who has all the tools to gradually develop into an NFL starter.”

They said it: “You love the tools that he has. His pass pro is really good. Love his length, hand usage. And a big man that we believe is going to continue to get bigger and more explosive, so it should really increase the competition on our offensive line and make everyone better.” — GM Ryan Poles

RAS card

Grade: B+

Breakdown: While it might seem early for Chicago to draft a punter, Taylor is a star at his position. He’ll be a weapon for this team in how he can flip the field for the Bears defense with impressive leg strength. It’s not hyperbole to say that Taylor was Iowa’s offense last year. He averaged 48.2 yards per punt last season, setting the single-season punting record and earning recognition as the Ray Guy Award winner as the nation’s top punter. — Alyssa Barbieri

Lance Zierlein’s scouting report: “Taylor’s leg strength matches his impressive size. No punter was allowed to ply their craft more in recent years than Taylor thanks to Iowa’s struggling offense. He has proven to possess the power of an NFL punter and his hang-time is fairly solid when the rugby-style punts are removed from the evaluation process. The directional punting and touch will need sharpening, but Taylor could come off the board in the middle rounds and find work in the league.”

They said it: “Really excited about Tory. One of the best punters I’ve ever seen, just in terms of his placement as well as his leg strength to be able to flip the field.” — GM Ryan Poles

RAS card

Grade: B+

Breakdown: The Bears finally added a defensive player to their rookie draft class with Booker, 21, who has high upside with his explosiveness, athleticism, length and pass rush talent. In 2023, Booker had nine sacks, eight QB pressures and 12 tackles for loss. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said Booker could have been a late first-round pick next year, if he’d gone back to school. So it certainly feels like Chicago landed a potential steal in Booker in the fifth round. — Alyssa Barbieri

Brugler’s scouting report: “A subpackage player at Kansas, Booker lined up wide of the offensive tackle (two- and three-point stances) in defensive coordinator Brian Borland’s versatile front. After he saw only 23 defensive snaps in his two seasons at Minnesota, Booker transferred to Lawrence for the 2023 season and led the team in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles, despite coming off the bench (averaged 40.2 snaps per game). Although he is still figuring out how and when to access his bag of tricks, Booker instinctively uses his rangy frame to create various leverage points and surprise blockers with his forceful hands. He is lean in his lower half, but he plays well versus the run to stack, stay balanced through contact and track the football. Overall, Booker is lacking in body mass and overall experience (just 505 career college snaps), but he is an ascending player with the ability to maximize his athletic traits and body length/force with proper biomechanics. With his tools and instincts, he projects as a rotational player in Year 1 with the potential to become an impact starter.”

They said it: “You turn on the tape & you see everything you need to see… he’s able to win with speed outside, the way he’s able to come underneath w/ the counter & then deceptively one of his best attributes is his ability to win with power.” — Bears scout John Syty

RAS card

Grade: B+

Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Chicago Bears helmet on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears had just four (then traded up for five) draft picks in this 2024 NFL draft. That’s because they traded away capital to land some veteran players — some of which worked out, some yet to be determined and others who are no longer with the team.

Breakdown: The Bears traded their second-round selection to the Commanders for Sweat, which has already proved to be more than worth it. Not only did Sweat come in and immediately impact the defense — helping this unit go from one of the worst to one of the best — but there are no edge rushers in this draft class better than Sweat, who led both Chicago and Washington in sacks last season. It was a dynamite move by Ryan Poles and one that will define the ceiling of Matt Eberflus’ defense. — Alyssa Barbieri

Fit: Starting edge rusher who helped elevate the defensive line following his trade to Chicago. Long-term starter secured to extension.

RAS card

Grade: A+

Breakdown: Chicago made a splash trading their fourth-round pick to the Chargers for Keenan Allen. While he just turned 32, he’s consistently been one of the league’s best wideouts during his 11-year career, earning six Pro Bowl nominations. He’s had at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in five of the last seven seasons. Last season, Allen was sixth in the NFL with 108 receptions — and he did that in just 13 games — for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns. He’ll be a key piece in the Bears’ electric receiving corp. — Alyssa Barbieri

Fit: A seasoned veteran with six 1,000-yard seasons to his name, Allen is a WR1 serving as WR2 alongside DJ Moore. Right now, he’s a loan (until when/if Chicago inks him to an extension).

RAS card

Grade: A

Breakdown: The Bears traded their fifth-round pick to the Bills for Ryan Bates, who Poles previously tried to sign as a restricted free agent in 2022. Bates, 27, has appeared in 73 games, including 19 starts, in five seasons with the Bills. Bates appeared in 17 regular-season games in 2023, but he didn’t have any starts. He played just 35 offensive snaps, all coming at center. During the 2022 season, Bates started all 15 regular-season games he appeared in, playing 947 snaps, primarily at right guard (810) and some at center (137). — Alyssa Barbieri

Fit: Versatile interior lineman who will compete with Coleman Shelton for the starting center job while also providing depth at guard.

RAS card

Grade: C+

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark (97) is blocked by Chicago Bears guard Dan Feeney (67) as quarterback Justin Fields (1) scrambles out of the pocket on Sunday, January 7, 2024, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won the game, 17-9, to clinch an NFC playoff berth. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Breakdown: The Bears traded their sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for Dan Feeney before the start of the 2023 season, adding much-needed depth along the interior offensive line. He didn’t see the field much with Lucas Patrick as the starting center, but he did make one start when Patrick was injured. Ultimately, it was a waste of a sixth-round selection for a player who didn’t have a significant impact during his brief time in Chicago. — Alyssa Barbieri

Fit: Served as a one-year rental as a reserve center before exiting in free agency.

RAS card

Grade: C

Breakdown: The Bears traded their seventh-round pick to the Patriots for N’Keal Harry during a season where Justin Fields lacked weapons. But Harry missed eight weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain that required tight rope surgery. Harry appeared in just seven games, seven catches for 116 yards and one touchdown. — Alyssa Barbieri

Fit: Served as a one-year rental at wide receiver where his impact was underwhelming.

RAS card

Grade: C+

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