Chicago Bears land franchise QB and elite pass rusher in 2024 NFL Mock Draft

The Chicago Bears’ 2024 NFL Draft class will include more than just USC quarterback Caleb Williams. Sure, Williams is the headline-grabber, and the franchise’s future rests squarely on his broad shoulders, but general manager Ryan Poles has another premium pick at his disposal: No. 9 overall.

There’s one school of thought that suggests the Bears should trade the ninth pick to acquire more selections in the 2024 draft. Chicago currently only has four. While Poles has proven a propensity to move all around the draft board to accumulate picks, this year feels different.

The Chicago Bears can add two premium players to their roster. They can’t pass that chance up.

In the latest 2024 NFL mock draft from The Athletic, the Bears keep both top-10 picks, resulting in big upgrades on offense and defense.

The first overall pick is obvious. It’s Caleb Williams.

“While anything could happen between now and the draft, starting with Wednesday’s USC pro day and Williams’ visit to Halas Hall, nothing has changed the near-consensus evaluation that Williams is the most talented player in the draft,” The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain wrote. “He’ll take over an offense that now features Keenan Allen, DJ Moore and Cole Kmet, along with free-agent additions D’Andre Swift and Gerald Everett.” 

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Bears fans should really enjoy this moment. It’s a unique time for the franchise; they hold the first pick in a draft year with an obvious — if not generational — top overall player at the sport’s most important position. And the Bears secured this pick, not because they were terrible in 2023. Instead, Poles put a whooping on the Carolina Panthers in last year’s trade of the first overall selection.

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Chicago ending up with Caleb Williams is equal parts genius and luck. 

At No. 9 overall, The Athletic has the Chicago Bears selecting Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner. Unlike Will Anderson, last year’s highly drafted Crimson Tide sack artist, Turner will enter the NFL with tempered excitement.

“Despite the addition of Montez Sweat, the Bears finished 32nd in the league last season in sacks per pass attempt,” Fishbaim wrote. “Enter Turner, the SEC’s 2023 sacks leader. An outstanding athlete, Turner would be a nice complement to Sweat.”

I’m not opposed to the Bears targeting an edge rusher with the ninth pick. Sweat can’t be the only player on Chicago’s defense who can pressure the quarterback. But I’m not sold on Turner being the right pick. There are other intriguing defensive ends like UCLA’s Laiatu Latu and Penn State’s Chop Robinson whose NFL upside might be higher.

Perhaps Poles will indeed look to trade out of the ninth pick if none of the top three wide receivers fall to that selection. It would make sense, considering the gap between players like Turner, Latu, and Robinson isn’t wide. 

Regardless, one thing is overwhelmingly clear: The Chicago Bears are in a great situation entering the 2024 NFL Draft. There’s almost no conceivable way Poles can screw it up.

Unless, of course, he doesn’t take Caleb Williams.

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