It's a franchise-altering point: 5 thoughts on the Chicago Bears from the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft

DETROIT - There was a moment when everything felt like a massive turning point for the Chicago Bears.

Here are five thoughts on the Bears after the first night of the 2024 NFL Draft.

A turning point for the franchise? Hard to say otherwise

The Bears had never taken a quarterback No. 1 overall before. The last two times they took quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft, the rosters had massive holes to fill and lame-duck head coaches.

Now, the Bears have their quarterback at No. 1 overall with a roster that's ready to go from the jump.

Caleb Williams, the best quarterback prospect since arguably Andrew Luck, will come to Chicago along with Rome Odunze to a team that has been developing for two seasons already.

Now, the Bears are seemingly on the cusp of following through with general manager Ryan Poles promise of taking the NFC North and never giving it back. That's a lofty goal, considering the Vikings improved with two first-round picks, the Lions are fresh off a NFC title game appearance and the Packers are young and improving, too.

The Bears are massively improved, too. Every offseason move that's been made so far, though, pales in comparison to what Williams can be if he develops into the player that wins the Bears' big games.

Ryan Poles is done messing around

One of the most pointed things the Bears general manager said in his first-round debrief Thursday night was a shot at Bears history.

Every time the Bears' quarterback situation is brought up, the names of all the starting quarterbacks come up. So do all the losses and the state of the franchise.

Poles has had enough of it.

"The history's the history," Poles said at Halas Hall Thursday. "I'm kind of done talking about it. You go back so much all the time and those days are over. So we're bringing players in here that want to really just change everything up and do things a different way.

Tell us about it.

The Bears could have take Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner at No. 9 overall. They had a good argument to do so, too. They needed a pass rusher opposite Montez Sweat. Instead, the Bears opted to change the offensive outlook with Odunze.

These aren't your parent's Bears, which might have focused on defense. These Bears have a defense. Now, they want firepower. Boy, did they get it.

In this day and age in the NFL, firepower equals wins. Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.

"Obviously, we love our history here," Poles said. "But it has hasn't been smooth recently and it's time to change."

Williams' attention to detail is part of why he's special

Those who say quarterbacks need a short memory are correct, especially rookies in the NFL who are mistake-prone.

Williams, however, can recall basically anything.

Ask what his favorite play from college is, and he can detail what the play was, who he was throwing to, the situation and why it happened. That's a trait that'll come in hand in his rookie year.

It's impressive that Williams always had an answer. He could have mailed in his answers Thursday after being asked the same questions over and over again. Instead, he made sure he gave his best to every question asked.

That's an admirable part of a player who has clearly dedicated himself to being the No.1 overall pick in the NFL Draft for years.

Odunze's chemistry with Williams can't go unnoticed

One of the best things about Draft Day is that things could literally go 1,000 different ways.

After Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers went off the board, the Titans took J.C. Latham and the Falcons took Michael Penix Jr. That dropped Odunze to the Bears.

Poles and the Bears have draft simulations, and said Odunze was only there about half the time.

"If you told me we’d end up with both Caleb and Rome weeks ago, I would’ve said you’re crazy," Poles said.

Was this before or after Williams and Odunze had a work out together with DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, and right after that shared a flight to Detroit together?

Either way, the best part is that Odunze and Williams already started a rapport together. That cannot go unnoticed. The two fed off each other in Detroit.

The two had no clue they would end up on the same team at the end of the night, but now that they are, they're aiming to be one of the best quarterback-receiver tandems in Bears history.

Not that it would be hard, the biggest competition is Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall.

But the Williams-Odunze connection figures to be in Chicago for longer than Cutler-Marshall. Marshall was a Bear for just three seasons.

Odunze figures to be the Bears' top option sooner rather than later, too. Once that happens, plenty of records could fall.

Thankfully, we'll never have to hear about Williams' playing desires again

I remember when there was a report that Williams would not play for the Bears. That he would pull an Eli Manning and force the Bears hand into going elsewhere.

That was put to bed during the draft cycle and again Thursday.

"I'm really excited to be on this team," Williams said.

The Bears went from a 3-14 team two seasons ago to an attractive destination in the NFL. That's a noticeable jump and it shouldn't be ignored.

Oh, the Bears also still have an extra second-round pick next year, are 11th in the league in cap space and have two more picks in the 2024 NFL Draft to use.

The Bears might not have been a playoff team last season, but they weren't dismal. They forged a burgeoning defense and stockpiled the offensive arsenal. Imagine if Williams can lift the Bears to the playoffs in Year 1? That might be cause for a life-time contract.

All jokes aside, the Bears could take the next step this season if they can win more games. Then, a team with a successful quarterback on a rookie contract and surrounded by talent on both sides of the ball, becomes the one to watch out for.

This is exciting. It's supposed to be. It's okay to imagine what Williams can be in Bears' uniform and what Odunze can do in the years to come.

Imagine it, because Williams already has.

"The team goes as the QB goes," Williams said. "On the great teams, the elite teams, the players lead."