The way the 2024 NFL Offseason goes is going to center around what Chicago Bears' GM Ryan Poles does at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft. And this really is not an exaggeration, either. The Bears recently clinched the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, thanks to the Carolina Panthers. As we all know, the Bears own the Panthers 2024 first-round pick, as that was one of the picks that Carolina had to part with to trade up to No. 1 in 2023.
They took Bryce Young with that pick, and thus far, the Panthers are getting no return on their heavy investment. Well, for the second year in a row, the Bears have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, which is just insane. GM Ryan Poles made the right call in 2023 to trade down. He wanted to clearly build around Justin Fields, and at the end of 2022, Fields had shown a good bit of growth as a passer and as a runner.
Poles reinforced the offensive line last offseason and gave Fields a true WR1 in DJ Moore. Moore is having the most productive year of his career, and the Bears' OL is quite solid. At the top of the 2024 NFL Draft, the top two quarterbacks are expected to be USC's Caleb Williams and UNC's Drake Maye. Williams has widely been viewed as a generational prospect.
And a generational QB prospect, well, comes once in a generation. With the Bears being in the driver's seat to draft Williams, Poles will have a tough decision to make. Does he remain at that top selection and draft Williams, giving the Bears a high-end QB prospect? This would also allow them to reset the QB contract situation and give the team several years of a cost-controlled passer.
Or, do they stick with Justin Fields, trade down from the top pick, and "build around him" as I've seen people say. This decision that Poles has to make will be the most important of his executive career. If he sticks with Fields, he risks Fields simply not being a franchise QB, and well, that has been the case thus far. Through three seasons in the NFL, Fields has largely been a mess, throwing 30 interceptions and fumbling the ball nearly 40 times.
He hasn't at all improved as a passer this year and is less productive on the ground compared to 2022. Drafting Caleb Williams doesn't guarantee success, as every NFL draft pick is a huge unknown, but all signs point to Williams being a franchise passer.
Will the Bears pick Justin Fields or Caleb Williams? To me, the decision is easy, but Justin Fields seems to have made this decision tough for Poles. Whatever Ryan Poles decides to do in 2024 will be the single most important decision the NFL has seen in years.