The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Bears fans hopeful for franchise revival with new first-round picks

Samantha Davis
Chicago Bears fans react to the team’s selection of University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft April 25, at Soldier Field.

“With the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select Caleb Williams, Quarterback, Southern California.” Fans erupted with elation. Pandemonium rose with a chant, “Let’s go Bears! Let’s go Bears! Let’s go Bears!”

On Thursday, April 25, fans felt hopeful for the upcoming Bears season.

Caleb Williams, Quarterback from the University of Southern California, hopes to bring in joy and excitement as the Bears QB in this 2024 season. Williams, who wishes immortality with the organization, has his eyes on the prize: winning Super Bowls.

“I’m ready,” Williams, the draft’s No. 1 pick, told his newest fans.

Since 2020, the Bears have never made the playoffs. Through executive changes, bringing head coaches in and out and a nonchalant relationship between fans and executive officers. From being one of the worst franchises ever in the league to drafting Caleb Williams will make a huge turning point in Chicago. 

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  • Chicago Bears fans react to their team’s selection of University of Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze ninth overall April 25, 2024, at Soldier Field.

  • Chicago Bears fans take the field at the team’s draft party April 25, 2024, at Soldier Field.

  • Chicago Bears fans look to the jumbotron as the Bears prepare to select ninth overall at the team’s draft party April 25, 2024, at Soldier Field.

  • ESPN Chicago radio analysts discuss the Chicago Bears’ upcoming draft April 25, 2024, at the team’s draft party at Soldier Field.

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Meanwhile, at the Soldier Field draft party, fans from all over the city got a chance to walk down the field, play catch with mini footballs and meet and greet with players, such as DJ Moore and Andrew Billings.

The party, attended by hundreds of fans, has been sold out since February.

“The draft party experience is very unique,” said Miguel Lemus, a Bears corporate communications assistant. “I’m excited for what this season has to offer… everything’s coming together, including Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze.”

Rome Odunze, a wide receiver from the University of Washington, was the Bears’ other first-round pick, chosen at No. 9.

In the Bears Twitter account, Odunze shared a heartwarming message with fans after being selected at No.9 in the draft.

“What’s up Bears fans?” Odunze said in the video. “It’s Rome Odunze here. Just got picked, looks like I’m coming to Chi-town to join Caleb to do some damage… I’m looking forward to getting to Chi-town to tear things up. Appreciate it.”

Apart from Williams being selected, fans showed enthusiasm with Odunze coming to the Bears as another stack of wide receivers in the league.

Francisco Avila, a true die-hard Bears fan, provides his remarks on the expectations for this 2024 season.

“There has been a lot of inconsistency from Matt Eberfus as head coach,” Avila said. “Of course with his ups and downs, the introduction of Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze can help fill the roster with young talent and help a couple other players in the team.”

Avila also stated that the expectations with Williams and Odunze are good and that they hope to have a winning season moving forward. 

Every fan inside the stadium was very enthusiastic, especially when they received souvenir gifts such as a Bears jacket, mini football, bracelet and more.

Overjoyed with excitement, more fans spoke up about having an offensive stack on the roster, hoping for a playoff run.

“I think it’s huge for the franchise,” Bears fan Levi Leonard said. “This is why we make some noise. It’s time to go to the playoffs. It’s time to really shock the world.”

He and his friends, who call themselves the “Bear Buddies,” said they expect the Bears to make the playoffs, win the division and go all the way to the NFC Championship – with Williams as MVP.

Lucas Gumaski, another die-hard Bears fan, expects a lot more this season than the previous one. 

“I am so excited,” Gumaski said. “I’ve been wanting (Williams) to be the pick for as long as it’s (been) speculated. I wanted a go receiver, and I’m glad that they chose Rome as well. So I’m excited to see them.”

At the event, the Bears recognized a group of high school student-athletes who shared their experiences on and off the field. One student-athlete recognized, Adilene Diaz, a senior at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy High School in Chicago, said she overcame challenges while playing flag football and other sports.

“Because there were no sports around my neighborhood in Mexico, I felt the need to go into sports and try one myself,” Diaz said in Spanish. “Since my mom and sister pushed me to do it, there was more dedication to them along with my art skills, which I liked and enjoyed very much.”

Diaz also stated that she intends to expand her art skills to communities in need and use it as a way to honor historical movements for equality. 

Bears fans, media professionals and local analysts are prepared to see what this team can do not only this season but also in the future.

The Bears will play their first preseason match Thursday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. eastern time at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williams is expected to be the starting quarterback from day one.

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