NFL Draft

Bears select Caleb Williams with No. 1 pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Welcome to Chicago, Caleb

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It's official. The Chicago Bears have selected USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Williams, 22, played three years of college football -- one at Oklahoma and his final two at USC. In his first season at USC, he won the Heisman Trophy Award after throwing for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five interceptions. This past season, he tossed for 3,633 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Widely considered the best quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft class, Williams is thought of by some as a generational talent at quarterback. The arm angles, the athleticism, the accuracy, the off-platform throws, the off-script playmaking; you name it, he's got it.

Williams completed a top-30 visit with the Bears in early April, where he went out to dinner with the Bears' brass and veteran players. The visit was a success, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago's Josh Schrock. Williams didn't visit with another team; the Bears didn't bring in another quarterback to visit.

"Really intelligent guy," Bears general manager Ryan Poles said of what his veteran players told him of Williams. "He came across as a really good teammate. Easy to talk to, down to earth. You know, we've talked through this process about, you know, the whole Hollywood thing. He's all ball, wants to work, wants to get better, wants to win as a team. That's the No. 1 thing for him on top of being successful. So I think the biggest thing is does he fit with our culture and what we're trying to do, and all signs were that he does so that's a positive."

A recent report from The Athletic suggested the Bears had known Williams was their guy before the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine. Diana Russini reported the Bears "have made it known to teams since before the NFL Scouting Combine that they are not open to trading the No. 1 pick."

On March 16, the Bears traded three-year starter Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft. (Its condition is dependent on the percent of snaps Fields plays in 2024, which could transform the pick into a fourth-rounder, should Fields play 51% or more snaps.)

That trade paved the way for Williams, who's been touted by the Bears heavily this offseason. They did extensive research and met with him several times leading up to the draft. And they've already discussed their joint goal of winning multiple Super Bowls, and Williams' goal of surpassing Tom Brady's legendary career.

"I love it. I think we all should have huge goals," Poles said of Williams wanting to catch Brady. "We have huge goals here – win multiple championships. And that’s what we shoot for. You’re more intentional when you have these goals, you have to live a certain way, you have to practice a certain way, you have to go about your business a certain way in order to accomplish those. If everything else is in line underneath that, that gets me excited."

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