No. 1 pick Caleb Williams says he wants to be part of ‘a big portion’ of winning with Chicago Bears after NFL Draft

Caleb Williams had a historic draft night on Thursday.

After the Chicago Bears chose the former USC Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback No. 1 overall, many Williams jerseys sold quickly at Fanatics — so much so that it broke a draft night record.

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According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Williams “broke the Fanatics record for draft night merchandise sales for any draft pick in any sport, beating the previous record set last week by Caitlin Clark.”

Williams pointed to that record when asked about processing all of the events transpiring in the past 24 hours for him.

“I ended up — reposted it saying, ‘Well I guess that’s Chicago for you,’” Williams said. “So that’s probably my answer to that is all the love and support. It’s strong. I’ve heard about it, and so to get it, to get some of that love and support, that early is really awesome, really exciting.”

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It wasn’t a surprise that Williams went first in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Bears. While he collected All-Pac 12 Conference Honorable Mention passing for 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns, Williams said he “watched the Bears a little bit more than I ever have” last year.

“The anticipation part I’ve been waiting on,” Williams said. “I’ve been waiting for that day — yesterday — and now that it came true I’m excited. But I got a couple other goals to hit over the next few years so I’m excited.”

A long list of goals is likely for Williams, who shouldn’t have trouble getting to work in Chicago.

Williams showed he could pick up quickly in a new environment during his college career. He arrived at Oklahoma in 2021 earning the starting reins midseason before transferring with head coach Lincoln Riley to USC in 2022. The Washington, D.C. native won the Heisman that season throwing for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns to five interceptions.

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At USC Williams took the Trojans to the Pac-12 championship game and helped them reach as high as No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings as a sophomore in 2022.

Williams knows the expectations will be different in the NFL. He’s been preparing for that workload, and he already has his focus set.

“Just do my job,” Williams said. “I’m always going to have scrutiny. I mean, I do things like — I paint my nails. I’m always going to have scrutiny over that. I wear funky clothes and things like that, so you know, just do my job on the football field. Win games. I think you win a bunch of games here, you’ll make a lot of people, a majority, happy.”

USC became the record holder with six No. 1 draft picks after Williams’ selection. He joined Ron Yary in 1968, O.J. Simpson in 1969, Ricky Bell in 1977, Keyshawn Johnson in 1996 and Carson Palmer in 2003.

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Williams carried an intelligent approach throughout the lead up to the draft. He’s handled a strong work ethic proven to win games and hardware, and that’s something Williams hopes to continue to do, only this time in the NFL.

Williams said “it’s been a journey” navigating the draft process and becoming accustomed to the Bears. He also said he’ll start learning the playbook next week and he’s “excited” to get deeper into the X’s and O’s. The former All-American departs college football leaving a legacy at the quarterback position.

“It’s a team sport. That’s why I love the sport so much,” Williams said. “But you know, my reason to go out there is to win games. My reason why I play is to win games and championships, and so I want to be a big portion of it. I want to go out there. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy. I want to do it with my teammates, and so what better place to do it than the Chicago Bears?”