The Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots hope they have the most important building block when it comes to putting together an NFL championship contender.

The three once-proud franchises have fallen on hard times in recent years. The trio combined to play the last two seasons with a 34-67-1 record in large part because of inadequate quarterback play. Armed with the top three picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, it’s no surprise Chicago, Washington and New England used their top selections on QBs: Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye, respectively.

Now, the hard work starts — or continues. Williams, Daniels and Maye might all be Hall of Famers when it’s said and done (history suggests otherwise), but their teams can start by putting them in good positions.

For Williams, it sure looks like the Bears have done a good job of that so far. Chicago has D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen on the depth chart as veteran receivers and used the No. 9 pick to grab another top wideout talent in Rome Odunze.

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Williams’ talent is evident to anyone who has seen him play. He has remarkable big-play ability and thrives in a way few can when the play breaks down around him. That talent, along with the skill he has around him, being herded by new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron could make Chicago’s offense one of the best in short order.

As such, Williams could be on the fast track to being a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. If you wanted to, you could make the case he already is, which is something’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle kicked around this week on “The Spread” podcast.

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The best way to rank the NFL’s top-flight quarterbacks might be to use a tiered system. As “The Spread” cohosts concluded, there’s a pretty evident top tier that isn’t quite ready to include Williams or his draft classmates.

Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City)
Lamar Jackson (Baltimore)
Josh Allen (Buffalo)
Joe Burrow (Cincinnati)
C.J. Stroud (Houston)
Jordan Love (Green Bay)

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Maybe including Stroud and Love in that tier is premature or even a hot take. But when you consider the talent they showed and how they produced in their first seasons as NFL starters, they do appear to have staying power.

From there, it gets a little murkier.

NFL QBs TIER 1.5 (because, well, who knows?)
Aaron Rodgers (New York Jets)

And then it gets crowded.

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Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams)
Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville)
Tua Tagovailoa (Miami)
Dak Prescott (Dallas)
Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia)
Jared Goff (Detroit)
Brock Purdy (San Francisco)
Kirk Cousins (Atlanta)
Kyler Murray (Arizona)

See? It gets real difficult when you try to differentiate among the likes of players like, say, Stafford, Goff and Cousins. Herbert, Lawrence and Tagovailoa are just waiting to take the next step that has them applying for entry into Tier 1.

When it comes to someone like Williams, the baseline hope is that when you’re making the same tiers next year, he’s at least included in Tier 2. That would mark remarkable progress for a Bears organization that really hasn’t ever had a franchise QB. As Mike and Ricky mentioned, a ceiling performance would put him right in the mix with someone like Herbert.

The Bears’ situation is certainly better than what Daniels or Maye are inheriting in their new homes, but they, too, could make immediate impacts to join the fray and set the course for an all-time quarterback class.

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Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images