Caleb Williams

Ryan Poles saving the excitement of the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft for Thursday

Poles was reluctant to admit the Bears will select Caleb Williams as the No. 1 pick

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I know it. You know it. Chicago knows it. Everyone knows it.

On Thursday, the Bears will select USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, making him the franchise's next signal-caller.

But two days away from the draft, general manager Ryan Poles is still reluctant to admit that fact.

"I think it's one of those things that everyone has to tune in Thursday to watch," Poles said during the Bears' pre-draft press conference on Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Watch Ryan Poles' full press conference here.

There's zero competitive advantage for Poles hiding his well-documented plans for the first pick. By concealing the Bears' plan for the No. 1 overall pick, they won't magically hear better trade offers for the pick.

Poles concurred with this notion on "The Pat McAfee Show" when asked if it's disappointing to lose leverage in a draft pick's value because everyone knows what you favor doing with it.

"When you have pretty good clarity, it really doesn't make a difference."

Maybe, because the NFL Draft is a big deal for the teams and the league, too, the league is in Poles' ear telling him not to reveal the Bears' plan to draft Williams. But, according to Poles, that's not the case, either.

"No one's told me, so it's my personal ordeal. Let's have some excitement for Thursday, right?"

The secrecy is this --- it's a major turning point in the organization.

The Bears have a tortured history of drafting, developing and starting quarterbacks. They've never had a true franchise signal-caller since the Sid Luckman days.

So, of course, the Bears want to hype up the idea that Williams has the best shot at being the guy who turns the ship around for good. The Bears have probably known it since Day 1 of the offseason. And they certainly knew it on March 16 when they traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Poles and the Bears want to savor that moment for the fans, who they know haven't been excited about the Bears since 2018 when they finished 12-4 in the regular season before flopping their first-round game to the Eagles.

They want Bears fans to relish in the moment when Roger Goodell calls out Williams' name with the first pick, fortifying the next era of the Chicago Bears.

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