Chicago Bears 2024 NFL Draft Class: Hidden gems, future stars, missed opportunities

An in-depth look at the Bears 2024 NFL Draft Class.
Rome Odunze
Rome Odunze / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

The Chicago Bears emerged as the standout team in the 2024 NFL Draft, showcasing remarkable value despite having just five picks. Each selection promises a significant impact, starting with the Bears securing two of the draft's top three players. Additionally, they acquired one of college football's best punters in recent history and concluded with a promising pass rusher in their final pick.

Chicago Bears 2024 NFL Draft Review

Round 1, Pick 1: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

The Chicago Bears kicked off the 2024 NFL Draft by taking the top player in this year’s class. USC quarterback Caleb Williams has all the traits to be great in the NFL including elite playmaking ability as a passer, the arm strength to throw any pass, and the ability to throw off platform.

Williams was my top rated player in the 2024 NFL Draft, but I have a few concerns about his game. Firstly, he tends to play hero ball instead of throwing the ball on time, which resulted in him taking 33 sacks last season. If he doesn't rectify this in the NFL, facing more complex defenses and a faster game pace will likely increase this number. Additionally, he needs to improve his footwork, particularly in short-passing situations, where he often finds himself out of position, impacting his accuracy negatively.

In terms of fitting into Chicago, it's quite certain he'll start on opening day. He's also backed by a solid supporting cast, featuring DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, and D'Andre Swift. Expect him to shatter most of the Bears' rookie passing records this season, and within a couple of years, he should establish himself as the best quarterback in team history.

Round 1, Pick 9: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

The second player the Bears picked who was of my top three players in the 2024 NFL Draft is Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze. There are several reasons why Odunze was rated so high starting with his playmaking ability. Last season, he averaged an impressive 17.8 yards on 92 catches and also caught 21 of 28 contested catches. He also has some of the surest hands in the class and does a terrific job of catching the ball with his hands.

Odunze's game doesn't raise many concerns, but one limitation is his experience with a limited route tree at Washington. Another area of concern is his blocking; he wasn't the most physical blocker, which could be an issue if Chicago plans to emphasize the running game this year.

The biggest question with the Bears’ selection of Odunze is will he make a big impact this year since the Bears already have two high-quality receivers in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen. While he will likely finish third on the team in receptions, he was well worth the pick due to his high upside and because Kennan Allen is 32 years old.

Round 3, Pick 75: Kiran Amegadjia, OT, Yale

One of the picks the Bears made that I didn’t agree with is when they took Kiran Amegadjia in the third round. One of the biggest reasons I only had a sixth-round grade on him is that he lacks the flexibility you want to see out of an NFL caliber offensive tackle. I also am not as impressed by his feet as other draftniks are and can’t see him as a left tackle in the NFL. One other issue with him is that he missed all but four games this season with a quad injury,

On the positive side, he is a powerful offensive lineman and should be a strong run blocker at the next level. He also has experience at both guard and tackle in college, which are two positions the Bears will likely consider playing him at next season. One more positive is he has NFL length coming in at 6-foot-6 with 36-inch arms.

The Chicago Bears are expecting Kiran Amegadjia to challenge Braxton Jones at left tackle, but I can’t see him winning this job. Due to this, I could see the Bears moving Amegadjia to offensive guard where he would likely make a bigger impact.

Round 4, Pick 122: Tory Taylor, P, Iowa

In my years of covering the draft, I have never given a higher grade to a punter than the fourth-round grade I gave to Tory Taylor. That is exactly where the Bears took Taylor as well when they used the 122nd pick on him. The reason Taylor went so high is his booming leg that saw him set a Big Ten career record by averaging 46.2 yards on his punts. He also does a great job of pinning opponents inside the 10-yard line.

The only real concern I have with Taylor is he is a 3-step punter which slows down the time it takes for him to get his punts off. He was also helped by Iowa’s outstanding special teams unit which did an outstanding job of covering his punts.

The Chicago Bears desperately needed to upgrade their punting situation after averaging just 38 yards in net punting which ranked 31st in the NFL.

Round 5, Pick 144: Austin Booker, EDGE, Kansas

The Chicago Bears traded back into the 2024 NFL Draft to take Kansas defensive end Austin Booker. Booker is coming off by far the best season of his college career after transferring to Kansas last year and recording eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss. As an NFL pass rusher, he has good length and a quick burst off the ball.

One reason why he will likely be limited to being a situational pass rusher is his lack of bulk coming in at 6-foot-4 and only 253 pounds. He also needs to use his hands better and improve his pass-rushing repertoire. Another concern is that he only had one big season in college having recorded just two tackles before the 2023 season.