Williams visits with Bears, but will he visit other teams?

The Bears are three weeks away from making their selection with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Pretty much everyone expects that first pick to be USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Williams was in town Wednesday to visit with the Bears at Halas Hall, as first reported by ESPN 1000 host Marc Silverman. Per Silvy, Williams even dined with some current members of the Bears.

NFL teams are allowed 30 in-person visits at their team facilities in the lead up to the draft. In league circles, these visits are typically referred to as “30 visits” or “top 30 visits.” Along the way, the Bears have been meeting with countless prospects. They met with some at the Senior Bowl, others at the NFL Scouting Combine and others at various college pro days.

But the 30 visits have extra importance. They provide teams with the opportunity to meet with prospects for longer periods of time, to see how they interact with various members of the organization, and to get medical evaluations with their own team doctors.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport went one step further and noted in a tweet that Williams’ visit to Halas Hall this week was “likely his only visit.”

Williams has done things his own way throughout the draft process. He did not partake in medical evaluations at the combine. He did not want all 32 teams to have his medical information.

“Not 32 can draft me,” Williams said at the combine in March. “There’s only one of me. So the teams that I go to for my visit, those teams will have the medical and that’ll be it.”

If Williams doesn’t visit any other team facilities, that would make the Bears the only team with his full medical evaluation. Williams and his camp clearly believe the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner will be the first pick in the draft. And at this point, maybe this is all just a formality.

All signs continue to point toward Williams being the first name called on April 25.

Other players on visits

The Bears have two first-round picks and they are investing just as much time into figuring out what they will do with the No. 9 pick as they are scouting Williams. Per various reports, the Bears have had top receivers Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze in for visits, as well as top edge rushers Dallas Turner and Chop Robinson, top linemen Tyler Guyton and Graham Barton and top tight end Brock Bowers.

The top 30 visits give teams a chance to zero in on their top draft picks, and they can also be valuable when scouting lesser-known prospects.

Here’s a list of players who have reportedly met with the Bears as part of their top 30 visits: USC QB Caleb Williams, LSU WR Malik Nabers, Washington WR Rome Odunze, Alabama DE Dallas Turner, Georgia TE Brock Bowers, Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton, Penn State DE Chop Robinson, Duke OL Graham Barton, Yale OT Kiran Amegadjie, West Virginia OL Zach Frazier, Kansas State TE Ben Sinnott, Notre Dame CB Cam Hart, Auburn CB Nehemiah Pritchett, Boston College CB Elijah Jones, Tulane WR Jha’Quan Jackson and Kentucky CB Andru Phillips

The Bears will host additional prospects between now and April 25. The Bears also will hold an annual local pro day for prospects who either grew up or played college near Chicago.

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