Round 1, Pick 1: Caleb Williams, QB, USC
There is a chance — albeit minute — that the Chicago front office could stand by Justin Fields one last time. But the more likely option is smashing the reset button by drafting Caleb Williams out of USC.
Williams is widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect in the class, and for good reason. He possesses plenty of arm talent; the creativeness displayed while working outside the pocket is reminiscent of a certain No. 15 in Kansas City.
Don’t get it twisted; I am not saying Williams is a Patrick Mahomes clone. Although, some are using that exact verbiage. Either way, the 21-year-old signal-caller would allow the Bears to start fresh with a high-upside prospect behind center. If teams can get past size issues, Williams should be QB1 in any mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 4 (via CAR): Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
Blue-chip player on offense? Check. Now, it is time to bring in a pioneer for Matt Eberflus’ front seven. As a prospect, Jared Verse flexes early Day 1 traits on tape. He is powerful when engaged with a blocker, while also showing remarkable explosion off the line of scrimmage.
Verse’s wingspan may be a touch below what Eberflus looks for at defensive end, but his high football IQ and relentless motor should soothe any concerns about arm length. For the Bears, the Seminole defender would be the top pass-rushing threat from the jump.
Verse was eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft and instead opted to return to Tallahassee for more development. I had a top 10 grade on the star pass rusher before he chose to go back to school, and there is a real chance Verse will bump that grade up to the top five by next April.