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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

COLUMN: Grading the Bears’ 2024 draft class

Chicago Bears wide receiver Rome Odunze and quarterback Caleb Williams hold their jerseys at a press conference in Lake Forest, Illinois on Friday. Odunze and Williams were both selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Although the Chicago Bears only made five draft selections in the 2024 NFL draft, general manager Ryan Poles surely made a splash. After taking a look at Chicago’s newest players, I give the Bears’ draft an overall grade of A-.


Giving first overall pick and former University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams an A+ is a no-brainer. Williams entered the draft as one of the most highly touted NFL draft prospects in a very long time. 

Drawing an NFL pro comparison to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray from NFL analyst Lance Zierlein, Williams’ improvisational ability allowed for an impressive resume with USC. 

With the Trojans, Williams threw for 8,170 passing yards and put up 72 passing touchdowns compared to only 10 interceptions. Williams’ impressive 2022 campaign earned him the Heisman Trophy. 

Williams and the Bears’ second draft pick – former University of Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze – will equate to a lethal tandem.


The Bears selected Odunze with the ninth overall pick, adding onto an already deep receiving core. The trio of Odunze and veteran wide receivers D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen make for one of the best wide receiver rooms in the entire NFL. 

Odunze joins the Bears after spending four seasons with the Huskies. In his college career, Odunze totaled 3,272 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. 

Coming in at 6 feet, 3 inches and 215 pounds, Odunze is lethal at the point of the catch and specializes in contested catches. Odunze recorded a 39-inch vertical at the 2024 NFL Combine.

According to Zierlein, a suitable pro comparison is former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. 


The Bears selected former Yale University offensive tackle and Hinsdale, Illinois, native Kiran Amegadjie 75th overall. The 6-foot-5, 323-pound tackle spent four years at Yale. 

Amegadjie excels in intangibles, specifically length and athleticism. Amegadjie has 36-inch arms, which is higher than the 30-to 34-inch average among current NFL linemen – according to Pro Football Network.

Despite impressive athleticism, Amegadjie lacks footwork and needs to refine his hand placement. Amegadjie will most likely need a few years to develop, but his downsides are coachable.


Former University of Iowa punter Tory Taylor was the Bears’ fourth selection, picking him up with the 122nd overall pick. Although Taylor was a boring pick, Chicago was able to find their starting punter, so the pick earns a B. 

Taylor replaces Trenton Gill, who was worst in the NFL in net punt yards average. Taylor led the NCAA in net punt yards average. 


Trading into the fifth round and taking former University of Kansas edge rusher Austin Booker with their pick was a home-run selection by the Bears and deserves an A. 

Booker is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound behemoth who had a Round 3 draft projection by Zierlein

Playing one season with the Jayhawks, Booker finished the 2023-24 season logging eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Lining up opposite Bears edge rusher Montez Sweat, the duo will cause an even more productive defensive line. 

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