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Ryan Poles Reveals If Bears Promised Caleb Williams the No. 1 Draft Pi


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Vince Carbonneau
May 1, 2024  (4:03 PM)
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Ryan Poles
Photo credit: CHGO

The Chicago Bears had set their sights on drafting USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick well before the 2024 NFL Draft. But when did they make their decision final?

"The turning point came after his top-30 visit," General Manager Ryan Poles revealed during an appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show." He explained that the weeks leading up to the draft were challenging due to the anticipation, but he was eager to finalize the selection.
Williams' top-30 visit evidently sealed the deal. He not only had a successful dinner outing with the Bears' executives but also met key veteran players, impressing everyone with his maturity and enthusiasm for football.
Prior engagements had also gone smoothly, including a brief interaction at the NFL Scouting Combine and a dinner in Los Angeles before Williams' pro day at USC. Following these meetings, no other top quarterback prospects were invited to Halas Hall, and Williams didn't visit any other teams.
When asked directly if the Bears had informed Williams that he would be their first pick, Poles clarified, "No, I think he knew, though."
This understanding was hinted at during the draft call video released by the Bears, where Poles playfully started the conversation with, "Who's this?" to which Williams humorously replied, indicating his long-held knowledge of the impending decision.
Despite the evident preference for Williams, the Bears' management conducted thorough evaluations of all leading quarterback prospects. "The film stood out from the start, and as we did more homework and spent time with Caleb, it became increasingly clear he was the right choice," Poles stated.
Although there were no dramatic trade offers for the first pick, Poles was determined, ceasing to entertain any negotiations as the draft approached, convinced that Williams was the standout talent needed to rejuvenate the team.
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Ryan Poles Reveals If Bears Promised Caleb Williams the No. 1 Draft Pi

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