Bears take top 2 spots in ESPN analyst's ranking of top 100 2024 NFL Draft picks

Bears take top 2 spots in ESPN analyst's ranking of top 100 2024 NFL Draft picks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

How well did the Bears do in the 2024 NFL Draft?

That's somewhat of a loaded question, considering the Bears owned the fewest picks of any team in the draft. But ESPN's Matt Miller recently ranked his top-100 favorite picks from the draft.

And it's fair to assume from his analysis the Bears did pretty freakin' well. Three of the Bears' picks landed in Miller's top-100 favorite picks. Here's how the Bears finished in Miller's book.

1. Rome Odunze, WR, Chicago Bears (Pick 1-9)

It was a nerve-racking wait for Ryan Poles, but the Bears got their guy in Odunze without having to trade up from the No. 9 pick. Odunze is a big-bodied deep threat who works in perfectly with all-around receivers DJ Moore and Keenan Allen.

Here's why Miller says the Odunze selection is his favorite pick from the draft.

"Chicago's second pick of the first round was my favorite of the entire draft for a few reasons," Miller wrote. "Not only was this a great value for Chicago -- a difference of six spots in ranking vs. slot inside the top 10 is huge -- but it's also smart to help your rookie quarterback with a star rookie wide receiver. It also helps that Caleb Williams (said QB) and Odunze have been working out together since the 2023 college season ended. Odunze led the nation in receiving last season (1,640 yards) and fills out a potentially really good offense."

2. Caleb Williams, QB, Chicago Bears (Pick 1-1)

A no-brainer here. The Bears had known for a while leading up to the draft that Williams was their guy. By not trying to be cute with the first pick, the Bears earned high praise from Miller for this pick.

Here's why the Williams pick finished as Miller's second favorite pick in the draft behind Odunze.

"The Bears go back-to-back here for me," Miller wrote. "Maybe it's cheating to say the No. 1 overall pick in the draft ranks this high, but the Bears didn't overthink this and landed a potential star at quarterback to turn things around. Plus, they've dedicated efforts throughout the process to building a system around Williams in which he can thrive. In a year with six quarterbacks selected in the top 12, the Bears didn't have to move around the board and drafted the best passing prospect of the past decade."

41. Austin Booker, EDGE, Chicago Bears (Pick 5-144)

Now, here's where things get interesting. The Kansas defensive end finished as Miller's 41st favorite pick. That's quite the jump for a guy who was drafted No. 144 in the draft.

Remember, once the Bears drafted Iowa punter Tory Taylor in the fourth round, their draft was technically over. But they traded back into the draft in the fifth round --- sending a 2025 fourth-round pick to the Bills --- to reacquire the fifth-round pick they initially traded to Buffalo for offensive lineman Ryan Bates. Then, they drafted Booker.

Booker had just one standout season while playing two years at Minnesota and one year at Kansas. In his final season at Kansas, Booker notched eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss, tacking on an additional 56 tackles (40 solos), too.

Here's why Booker finished as a favorite pick in Miller's book.

"Chicago was out of draft picks after selection No. 122 but traded back into the fifth round to get Booker. A developmental pass-rusher with just over 500 snaps in college, Booker put out tape against Illinois and Texas that made you think he would be a top-75 pick. His rawness led to a fall, but he's a great understudy for Montez Sweat and offers a similar upside as a rusher."

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