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With all eyes on No. 1 pick, Bears coach Matt Eberflus excited about possibilities at No. 9

All of the talk around the Chicago Bears has been centered on the start of a new era with their anticipated selection of USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

But they have another top-10 selection that folks in the football world shouldn't be so quick to overlook. Bears coach Matt Eberflus certainly isn't.

"Having that No. 9 pick is a really good spot to be in," Eberflus said recently, via the team's official site. "It's right there at the top. We're going to get a 'blue' player there, for sure. What we've done in free agency allows us to be flexible, to really be able to take the best player, one we feel fits us in that spot."

Chicago has been rather active this offseason, making a number of additions to address key weaknesses. Keenan Allen is now a Bear and ready to run routes for Chicago's next quarterback, and D'Andre Swift arrives as the team's first notable feature back since David Montgomery -- or more accurately, Jordan Howard.

The Bears enjoyed a pleasant jump in production from the defense in the back half of 2023, re-signed rising star cornerback Jaylon Johnson, and feel as if they're positioned to take the next positive step in 2024. They need to, too, considering how close Eberflus came to losing his job in 2023.

With this refreshed outlook in mind, the Bears truly can choose the best player available at No. 9 with the hope they can slot him into a key spot. It's the ideal draft to do so, too, with plenty of depth at a number of positions and a group of quarterbacks who are expected to go in near-succession, which could drop some blue-chip talent further down the board than usual.

The Bears haven't been in such a position in years, making for a draft with intrigue that stretches well beyond the all-but-certain selection of Williams at No. 1.

Time will tell, but it just might be the offseason that changes the course of the franchise, too.

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