Caleb Williams

Bears rookie minicamp report card: How Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze performed

There's not much to take from rookie minicamp, but this weekend could wind up being a notable time in Bears history

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The Caleb Williams era soft-launched this past weekend at Halas Hall during the Bears’ two-day rookie minicamp.

Four members of the Bears’ five-man draft class participated in the minicamp, with a host of rookie and veteran tryouts joining to field a full practice.

Quarterback Caleb Williams entered minicamp ahead of the curve, thanks to the head start he got in learning the fundamentals of the Bears’ offense. Williams was off the mark on only a few passes – he went 20-for-26 across two days (unofficial) – and several of those incompletions were drops.

Meanwhile, punter Tory Taylor showed the power and accuracy that had the Bears itching to draft him in the fourth round.

Here’s how each member of the Bears’ draft class performed during minicamp, with a loose letter grade assigned for on-field work in shorts during May. (Please do not take these grades seriously.)

CALEB WILLIAMS, QB

Williams was as advertised during the two-day minicamp, during which he threw to and against players who were mainly at Halas Hall on a tryout basis.

Williams showed consistent accuracy and effortless precision during the 7-on-7 periods. The No. 1 overall pick was off the mark on a few throws, including one that was high and in front of undrafted rookie Peter LeBlanc on Friday.

But even when the rare rep did go awry, Williams made sure to get with the intended target, talk through the miscue, and run a shadow rep to correct it.

For Williams, the bulk of his work during the offseason program will be about perfecting the operation of the offense. A big focus will be commanding the huddle, fine-tuning his cadence, and nailing down the footwork.

“Just learning. Learning the general information,” quarterback coach Kerry Joseph said of the goals for Williams in minicamp. “Being able to get out here and lead the guys. In the huddle. Being able to function with calling the plays. Getting to the line of scrimmage. That process. And then also being able to go through the progressions in the pass game and just having a good feel of field spacing. Seeing it from now when the defense is over there and it’s just walk-through or 7-on-7, he understands the spots on the field and understanding it in our system. So that is one thing we were looking for coming into this. And he’s done a great job with that.”

The accuracy, arm talent, aura, and attention to detail were all noteworthy during Williams’ Halas debut.

Grade: A+

ROME ODUNZE, WR

Odunze practiced Friday but sat out Saturday with hamstring tightness.

The No. 9 overall pick looked the part during his lone day of practice, showcasing smooth routes and soft hands.

Odunze and Williams have already started to build their chemistry off campus, and that work showed up Friday when the two connected seven times across three 7-on-7 periods.

GRADE: A- (dinged for availability)

KIRAN AMEGADJIE, OL

The third-round pick out of Yale did not practice as he continues to recover from quad surgery in October.

The Bears’ medical staff cleared Amegadjie during the pre-draft period, but they want to be cautious before ramping up his NFL development.

Amegadjie said he “feels good” and will be ready to go whenever he is given the green light.

The expectation is that will come in training camp.

GRADE: N/A

TORY TAYLOR, P

Taylor spent Day 1 of rookie minicamp booming kicks during full-field drills. The Iowa product's hangtime and power were notable.

The fourth-round pick has a big leg that the Bears identified as a weapon, but the precision is equally impressive. Taylor “worked on his wedges” during Day 2 of camp and had a good, not great, day by his own admission.

Taylor still has to get used to the Chicago conditions but knows that will come in time.

“I think it's one of those things that you always, nothing is ever perfect,” Taylor said Saturday. “And I'm always coming off the field going, I think if you come off the field saying, 'Oh yeah, today was perfect,' then you probably shouldn't be here if that makes sense. But yeah it went really well for a second practice and still lots of things to work on. I think one thing that kind of caught me a little bit by surprise is just how strong the wind is here. I guess that's why they call it the Windy City. But that's just stuff that I'm going to learn as we go. But plenty of things to be happy with and plenty of things to learn from and as long as I'm playing football that's how it will be and that's how I want it to be.”

GRADE: A-

AUSTIN BOOKER, DE

There’s not much to glean from the trenches in a non-padded practice in shorts.

Booker physically looked the part, and the Bears coaches were pleased with his improvement from Day 1 to Day 2.

The Bears have a plan to mold Booker into an impactful every-down edge rusher. That work starts with the little things in the film room, the weight room, and getting consistently better when he’s on turf.

“The whole thing for a rookie, I call it a race to maturity,” defensive line coach Travis Smith said of Booker after minicamp concluded. “For teams that have success in this league today are the ones where the young guys play the fastest and are able to impact the game. Not just play but are able to help us effect the game somehow. Whatever position they play, offense, defense, special teams, the faster they can impact the game, the faster our team is going to rise where we want to go. So, you talk about what is his development? What our plan is? Every day, it’s constant improvement. Today, he came out and he was better than he was yesterday. He’s still got a long way to go.”

GRADE: N/A

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