When do the Chicago Bears pick, how to watch and more

by Admin
When do the Chicago Bears pick, how to watch and more

The NFL draft is here. Finally.

Here’s everything you need to know before the picks start rolling in, including the Chicago Bears draft history, which local prospects might be selected and much more. Make sure to follow the Tribune’s Brad Biggs, Colleen Kane and Dan Wiederer for the latest news all weekend.

When is the draft and how can I watch it?

It’s all happening in downtown Detroit, where top prospects will walk the red carpet at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza before Round 1 — and the traditional booing of Commissioner Roger Goodell — starts at 7 p.m. Thursday CDT. Rounds 2 and 3 will happen Friday beginning at 6 p.m., with Rounds 4-7 kicking off at noon Saturday.

You can watch on ABC-7, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network or stream on the ABC and ESPN apps. ESPN Radio, SiriusXM and Westwood One Sports will have live radio coverage.

When do the Bears pick?

The Bears own the No. 1 pick for the fourth time in franchise history but have used it only twice. Remember, they traded last year’s No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers before the draft for the Nos. 9 and 61 picks, a first-round pick this year (No. 1), a second-round pick in 2025 and wide receiver DJ Moore.

2024 Bears picks

  • Round 1, No. 1
  • Round 1, No. 9
  • Round 3, No. 75
  • Round 4, No. 122

So who are the Bears going to select?

All signs point to USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick. The Bears brass has had many looks at and chats with the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner — including at the NFL scouting combine, USC pro day and a trip to Halas Hall.

“It was great,” Williams said of the extended time with the Bears at his pro day. “Just building a relationship. They’re trying to see if I’m the right fit to be the first pick as a quarterback and possibly the face of the franchise. They’re trying to figure out if this is the guy they should invest all the time, energy and effort and money into, which is obviously important. It was great.”

General manager Ryan Poles also has grown increasingly smitten.

“When you talk to his teammates, they don’t like him, they love him,” Poles said of Williams. “It’s his leadership, how he brings people together. … Same goes with the staff. I’m having a hard time finding a person who doesn’t like him or even love him and (doesn’t) think he can reach the highest limits. The feedback has been good.”

OK, then what? After likely drafting Caleb Williams at No. 1, here are 11 players the Chicago Bears might target at No. 9.

Things get a little more unpredictable for the Bears at No. 9. Wide receiver? Edge rusher? Trade down — or trade up?  Here’s Brad Biggs’ latest mock draft, which has the Bears selecting a wide receiver.

“We have different tiers on our draft board,” Poles said late last month. “And I like the numbers in terms of the talented players who can get down to 9.”

Whom have they drafted at No. 1 and No. 9 before?

Meet the Bears’ two previous No. 1 picks: Michigan halfback Tom Harmon (1941) and Oklahoma A&M halfback Bob Fenimore (1947).

Harmon, who grew up in Gary, was considered by many who covered college football — including the Tribune — to be its best player in 1940. He won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and AP Athlete of the Year award.

But instead of signing a contract with the Bears after they drafted him on Dec. 10, 1940, Harmon signed one for $15,000 with Columbia Pictures — to star in a film called “Harmon of Michigan.” The Tribune called the movie’s storyline “a weak, stupid and incredible affair, punctuated with banal dialog and incident.” He followed that up with a deal to be a radio sports director in Detroit.

A 1941 Chicago Tribune illustration shows Tom Harmon getting run over by a Chicago bear.
A 1941 Chicago Tribune illustration shows Tom Harmon getting run over by a Chicago bear.

Harmon did play football in Chicago in 1941 but not for the Bears — before more than 98,000 fans at Soldier Field as part of the Chicago Tribune All-Star Charity Football Game.

Unlike Harmon, Fenimore — nicknamed “Blonde Bomber” — did sign with the Bears after he was drafted on Dec. 16, 1946, but not before a trade was considered with the Buffalo Bisons of the All-America Football Conference. Trade talk was abandoned, however, after Bisons team doctors reported calcium spots on Fenimore’s injured knee.

“As for calcium spots on Fenimore’s knee, that’s the bunk,” Bears owner and coach George Halas told the Tribune in January 1947.

FILE - This Jan. 18, 1947, file photo shows Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas, left, watching as Bob Fenimore signs a contract with the Bears. Halas left the Bears in midseason in 1942 to join the Navy, so Luke Johnsos and Heartley Anderson led the club for the rest of that 11-0 season. The Bears won the championship again in 1946 when Halas returned. (AP Photo/File)
Bears owner and coach George Halas watches as Bob Fenimore signs his contract on Jan. 18, 1947. (AP Photo/File)

Fenimore played in 10 games for the Bears during the 1947 season but wrote a letter to Halas stating he would sit out the next season because of back and groin injuries incurred from exercising on a horse apparatus at a gym. He remained in Oklahoma, where he became an insurance salesman.

There have been six No. 9 picks in franchise history, including a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Who are the local draft hopefuls?

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy speaks during at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy speaks during the NFL combine in Indianapolis on March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Here are the prospects from Illinois high schools and colleges and Notre Dame, in order of ranking on Drafttek.com’s 600-player big board as of April 19.

  • Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (No. 4)
  • J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan/Nazareth (11)
  • Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois (25)
  • Tyler Nubin, S, Minnesota/St. Charles North (44)
  • Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale/Hinsdale Central (74)
  • Blake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame (90)
  • Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame (101)
  • Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame (109)
  • Bucky Irving, RB, Oregon/Hillcrest (131)
  • Keith Randolph, DT, Illinois/Belleville West (176)
  • Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame (180)
  • Logan Lee, DE, Iowa/Orion (182)
  • Chau Smith-Wade, CB, Washington State/Simeon (185)
  • Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame (186)
  • Tip Reiman, TE, Illinois (188)
  • Trevor Keegan, G, Michigan/Crystal Lake South (203)
  • Isaiah Adams, G, Illinois (204)
  • JD Bertrand, LB, Notre Dame (219)
  • Julian Pearl, OT, Illinois/Danville (236)
  • Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Edge, Notre Dame (246)
  • Isaiah Williams, WR, Illinois (263)
  • DJ Brown, S, Notre Dame (321)
  • Ryan Flournoy, WR, SE Missouri State/Homewood-Flossmoor (336)
  • Maema Njongmeta, LB, Wisconsin/Buffalo Grove (349)
  • Thomas Harper, S, Notre Dame (372)
  • PJ Jules, S, Southern Illinois (404)
  • Casey Washington, WR, Illinois (415)
  • Tarique Barnes, LB, Illinois (429)
  • James Ester, DT, Northern Illinois (458)
  • Jason Johnson, LB, Central Florida/Rich Central (492)
  • Cam Grandy, TE, Illinois State/Minonk Fieldcrest (561)
  • Nolan Potter, OT, Northern Illinois (571)
  • Jordyn Slaughter, G, Illinois/Belleville Althoff (594)
  • Chris Autman-Bell, WR, Minnesota/Bishop McNamara (597)

What are the other NFC North teams looking for?

If you need a refresher, the Lions (12-5) had the best record in the division, won their first playoff game in 32 years and added a second win in the divisional round before collapsing in the NFC championship game. The Packers (9-8) finished second, followed by the Vikings and Bears at 7-10 each. Here’s what each team needs — and doesn’t need — in this draft.


They own the No. 29 pick — which, barring a move, would be the latest the franchise has made a first-round pick.

GM Brad Holmes is prepared to potentially disappoint Detroiters who show up waiting for their favorite team to be on the clock at the end of the night only to learn he traded out of the first round with an offer too good to refuse.

“Hopefully our fans will forgive us,” Holmes said with a grin.

The Lions could use help at cornerback, defensive end and guard, while they are pretty set on the interior of the defensive line and at middle linebacker.


Giants safety Xavier McKinney in action against the Rams on Dec. 31, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Giants safety Xavier McKinney in action against the Rams on Dec. 31, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

The Packers made a big investment in their secondary by signing safety Xavier McKinney. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if they addressed that area again early in the draft.

Safety was one of their biggest weaknesses last season, and they didn’t keep any of the three players who earned the most playing time at that position for them a year ago, including Jonathan Owens, who left for the Bears.

The Packers also need help at cornerback and need to make up for offseason losses on the offensive line and at linebacker.

They have plenty of young talent at wide receiver after drafting Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in 2022 and Jayden Reed and Dontavyion Wicks last year. They also selected two tight ends — Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft — in the first three rounds last year.

They seem set at quarterback with 2023 fifth-round pick Sean Clifford backing up Jordan Love. But with 11 total draft picks, the Packers could give Love more playmakers or add quarterback depth.


Quarterback. It has been quarterback for a bit now.

After Kirk Cousins departed as a free agent, the Vikings acquired an additional first-round pick in a trade and now have the 11th and 23rd selections as potential fuel to move up. They also hired Josh McCown, an 18-year NFL veteran, as their new quarterbacks coach.

“Just because something’s risky doesn’t mean you have to stay away from it,” GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said. “It’s something that is hard to grasp, but if you grasp it, you know what the rewards are, right?”

The Vikings also have glaring holes at cornerback, guard and defensive tackle. But they are pretty set at wide receiver — especially in a deep class — as well as safety and tight end.

What else should I know?

You can read all the Tribune’s draft coverage here — and make sure to sign up for our Bears Insider newsletter to get the latest news in your inbox.

Associated Press contributed.

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