Eberflus discusses free agency, NFL draft and Caleb Williams

Eberflus discusses free agency, NFL draft and Caleb Williams

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Big changes came to the NFL following the NFL Owners’ meeting. The most important of those changes arguably was the league’s ban on the hip-drop tackle, which resulted in numerous injuries last season, and adopting a kickoff similar to that of the XFL from the 2023 season; this also appears to be in an effort to minimize injuries while keeping kickoffs in the game.

The meeting also allowed the media a chance to speak to Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus, regarding their free agency acquisitions, the Justin Fields trade, and the draft. The free agency class is something he sees a lot of potential in as it gives Chicago “flexibility” going into the draft.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen is a large part of that flexibility since he ensures the Bears have their top two receivers for when they draft their new quarterback in April.

“(Allen)’s been great in situations. When you got to have a play, and he can make that play. He’s been great on third down, great in two-man, in critical situations. He’s disciplined and just a master route-runner and he has the ability to be open and stay open with his body, so he understands how to do that.”

Sitting with their own pick at No. 9 overall, the Bears can now use this pick on a top-tier defender, such as Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse. They could also use it on an offensive lineman to protect their new franchise quarterback.

Regardless of how they use the No. 9 overall pick, Chicago’s offense is much-improved in a way that Fields certainly could have benefited from. However, the choice was made for him to get traded, something that Eberflus said was quite difficult for him, particularly with the relationship he developed with Fields over the last two seasons.

He also felt it was important to inform some of the team's leaders, including receiver DJ Moore, about the trade before it became public to show the organization's strong communication.

“Both sides thought that Pittsburgh was the place for him to be successful and we understand that,” Eberflus said. “Every guy that I talked to said, ‘Coach, I really appreciate you reaching out and letting me know ahead of time.’”

Building the offense and trading Fields certainly sets Chicago up to use their No. 1 overall pick to draft a quarterback. Caleb Williams from Southern California just recently had his Pro Day, to which the Bears sent nine people, including general manager Ryan Poles, assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, and Eberflus.

“It was a really good visit out to USC and the Pro Day. We went to dinner the night before with several of the players on the USC team that are draft-eligible and it was great to see him interact. Great personality and great character. You could see that easily during the dinner and then the next day we spent some time doing the football knowledge and all those things. But, I started out about an hour and 20 minutes, just him and I in the room together and just really hearing his journey, his journey from being a little guy,” Eberflus said. “What I gleaned from that was his mother and father love him very much and very supportive, and you can see his character, his football character there, his football knowledge, and it was a really good visit.”

Williams also talked briefly with Allen at his Pro Day. He is also set to visit Halas Hall prior to the draft to meet with some of the coaches who could not be in Los Angeles for USC’s Pro Day. During that visit, he is expected to complete a physical with Chicago’s medical staff.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Ariana Pensy: Email | Comment
Post your comments!