Bears’ Caleb Williams ready to embrace ‘scrutiny’ and capture success in the NFL

Bears first-round pick is more than talent.
2024 NFL Draft - Caleb Williams
2024 NFL Draft - Caleb Williams / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select Caleb Williams out of the University of Southern California.  That was the anticipated announcement Bears and all NFL Draft analysts expected and when it came true on April 25, attention immediately turned to the energy surrounding the former USC star.

Now, the next great hope for a team that hasn’t really had a franchise quarterback in the modern NFL era, there is just as much scrutiny that will come with Williams as there will be praise if he is the answer.  He already saw both at USC as he led the Trojans with 3,633 passing yards with 30 passing TDs.  He also led the team with 11 rushing TDs.

That dual-threat ability is what the Bears saw glimpses of in Justin Fields, but what Williams brings to the table is even more special, more unique, more promising.  As an innovative QB, Williams will dazzle with his ability to reset the pocket but may frustrate fans at times with his knack for trying to do too much at times.  At USC, he had the entire team on his shoulders, but that shouldn’t be the case a Bears team that has already surrounded Williams with what he needs to succeed in the NFL. 

Caleb Williams embracing the challenge of being the face of the Chicago Bears

How successful he is will depend on how well and easily he excels at the next level.  That starts with the player he sees in the mirror.  In his news conference on Friday, Williams was all smiles and addressed the scrutiny he received during his final season at USC. 

"When I wake up and go [to] the mirror and look at myself, I'm comfortable with that man that's looking back," Williams said during his introductory press conference Friday at Halas Hall. "I know who I am. I know what I like. I know what I like to do. With that, I know that I work hard, and I enjoy what I do. I'm very comfortable with who I am. That's how I go about it."

That mindset is what could make a young quarterback find success in the NFL, it can also break him if he doesn’t both recognize and embrace the scrutiny.  Confidence is as great of a tool as the physical traits, but too much confidence can get in the way of a young QB’s path to greatness if they don’t turn the mistakes, the scrutiny and all the negative that comes when a player is not living up to expectations into opportunities to learn and grow.

"I'm always going to have scrutiny," Williams said. "I do things like paint my nails. I'm always going to have scrutiny over that. I wear funky clothes, things like that. So just do my job on the football field and win games. I think if you win a lot of games here, you'll make a lot of people, the majority, happy."

With that being the challenge ahead for Caleb Williams, he is in great position in a Bears offense that won’t put too much on him immediately.  He’ll have veteran receivers in Keenan Allen and D.J. More, a up-and-coming tight end in Cole Kmet, a top-level running back in D’Andre Swift in the backfield behind him and fellow first-round pick Rome Odunze to learn and grow with in the NFL.

When looking at what the Bears already have in talent and what Williams brings to the table, the expectation to excel is even greater for the new Bears quarterback as it should be.  How he handles things when success is challenge will determine how high his sky is.