Rumors have swirled for months that the Chicago Bears will select USC QB Caleb Williams with the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The former USC signal caller is regarded as a prospect with superstar upside. However, there is plenty of skepticism around the NFL that Williams will be able to succeed in Chicago.

According to a report from The Athletic, many around the NFL are skeptical about the fit between Williams and Chicago. There is also debate about whether or not he will be entering a situation that sets him up to succeed as a pro.

“If guys don’t have like a C.J. Stroud-type start, and they don’t have the right people, right system, right person talking to them every day, right composed demeanor from the head coach, supportive — all of that, it can really ruin a young quarterback,” one coach told The Athletic.

This quote is revealing for a few reasons. First, that there are major doubts about Chicago's ability to develop a quarterback. Second, that expectations are sky-high for a rookie to succeed immediately or be viewed as a bust.

Brock Purdy is one example of a quarterback who entered the NFL in the opposite situation as Williams. He was the last overall pick and went to a successful organization in San Francisco.

“Look at Purdy,” a coach said. “He goes into that situation and all of those boxes were checked: solid organization, good defense. That play caller and developer of the talent knew exactly what he was looking at and looking for and allowed him to use that talent in the right way to get the job done. Those things are critical. If Purdy goes to the Panthers, we don’t know him right now.”

How the Chicago Bears can set Caleb Williams up for success in the 2024 NFL Draft

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams (QB14) talks to the media during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are no strangers to the huge expectations that will come from drafting Caleb Williams.

The Bears will be the second team to draft a quarterback in the first round three times in eight years, joining the Cleveland Browns. Mitchell Trubisky joined a lame-duck head coach in 2017 and never managed to make it work. A similar situation happened with Justin Fields four years later. That has caused apprehension around Bears' head coach Matt Eberflus, who could be on the hot seat if Chicago struggles in 2024.

They have also struggled throughout franchise history to maintain good QB play. Chicago's franchise passing leader is Jay Cutler (23,443 yards), which is third worst behind only Houston and Tampa Bay. The Bears are a few good Baker Mayfield seasons, and a successful CJ Stroud career,  from slipping to the bottom of this list.

Chicago does not have a huge war chest in this year's draft, but they could help set Caleb Williams up for instant success if they use their picks carefully.

The Chicago Bears hold the following picks in the 2024 NFL Draft:

  • First round (#1 overall) via Carolina
  • First round (#9 overall)
  • Third round (#75 overall)
  • Fourth round (#122 overall) via Philadelphia

The biggest priorities for the Bears should be investing in their offensive line and adding more offensive weapons for Caleb Williams. This year's draft class is rich at both of those positions, which could allow Chicago to pick another blue-chip talent at ninth overall and add depth in the middle rounds. They could also consider trading down from ninth overall and getting more picks.

If Chicago is able to successfully develop Caleb Williams, they will become a forced to be reckoned with in the NFC North.