Caleb Williams settles into his new Chicago Bears home during rookie minicamp: ‘It’s really effortless for him’

In the two weeks since the Chicago Bears drafted Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick, the rookie quarterback has been a celebrity about town. He went with a group of team veterans to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and sat courtside with wide receivers Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze at a Sky game.

He even was photographed pushing a shopping cart at a local Target, an image that popped up all over social media and made him laugh because of the funny way he was walking. Williams said he was procuring “all the small things that I needed” as he settles into his new life in the Chicago area.

Settling in with the Bears at Halas Hall, of course, has been Williams’ biggest task, and that ramped up Friday with the first practice of a two-day rookie minicamp in Lake Forest.

Caleb Williams is his ‘authentic self’ on and off the field. And the QB plans to use his confidence to lead the Chicago Bears to greatness.

During the 1½-hour session, Williams threw to rookie wide receivers, including Odunze, and ran the offense in drills along with undrafted rookie quarterback Austin Reed. Rookie punter Tory Taylor and defensive lineman Austin Booker were the other draft picks who practiced, while offensive lineman Kiran Amegadjie, the third-round pick out of Yale, will sit out the offseason program as he recovers from a quad injury that ended his 2023 season.

“Right now I feel pretty good,” Williams said before the session. “We’re going to have a few mess-ups probably. I’m working to eliminate those as fast as possible. But you need those things to grow and progress throughout the years.”

Williams had a head start on his adjustment to his new home.

The former USC quarterback and the Bears had the unique benefit of knowing they were going to be paired together for weeks if not months before the draft. Bears coaches gave Williams a lot of notes about the offense during his top-30 visit to Halas Hall in April.

Since then, Williams has been working on some aspects of the offense, including cadences and drops, to get ahead before he arrived at minicamp. Bears coach Matt Eberflus called Williams’ private quarterbacks coach Will Hewlett “awesome” as he helped Williams with the new information.

Williams also has been throwing with Odunze since the pair were drafted in the first round. Odunze, the No. 9 pick, said he knew Williams was talented from playing against him in college. But now he’s seeing the benefit of that on the field.

“It’s really effortless for him,” Odunze said. “He could do a lot of things that older quarterbacks may think is hard effortlessly. He continues to improve every time I see him, and he’s very smooth. He could throw the ball from any angle, body position, anywhere on the field, to any spot on the field. So you always have to be ready, always have to be prepared anytime he is in the backfield. It gives you the confidence that he’s going to put it on you when you’re giving him your best on the route.”

Photos: Chicago Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall

Williams’ primary goal at minicamp is to dive into the playbook and get to a comfort level at which he can teach other rookies who might need help. He wants to continue developing that chemistry on the field with Odunze and other receivers.

And he wants to stay even-keeled as he learns.

“Because I’m going to make mistakes, and I don’t really like mistakes and messing up,” Williams said. “And I know there’s a bunch of guys that are going to be in the same position as me. Being in that position and being even-keeled and being in control — cool, calm, collected — not only helps me but also all the other guys on the field.”

Eberflus and Bears coaches are looking at Williams’ understanding of concepts — they already have mapped out a plan through training camp of the concepts that will be taught — and operation of the offense.

“Taking the information from the meeting to the walk-through to the practice,” Eberflus said. “Everything from breaking the huddle to getting the cadence right to adjusting the call if need be.”

Williams has a host of new coaches to help his transition: offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, passing game coordinator Thomas Brown, quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph and offensive assistants Ryan Griffin and Robbie Picazo.

Williams believes Waldron’s 10 years of varied NFL coaching experience should help him.

“Having someone like Shane that’s been in different positions with different QBs at different learning stages and things like that, it only helps me,” Williams said. “So him being in the position that he’s in and being in this offense for so long, it’s going to help me. And it’s a learning process for me, so I have to put in the work but also know that I have someone and a support team and staff around me to help me and keep growing throughout the process.”

Eventually, Williams also will have to take charge as a leader this season. But as he grows acclimated to all of the inner workings at Halas Hall, he is taking a backseat in that aspect at first.

“To be a great leader, you’ve got to learn how to follow first,” Williams said. “So right now I’m following all the vets, I’m following all the coaches. I’m listening, having both ears open and my mouth shut. Just kind of sitting back listening.

“And when I get to the point of when I learn everything, when I learn the ways of how we do it with the culture, the playbook, and what the offensive line, the receivers are all doing, running backs and tight ends (are doing), then you can start taking the lead. Then you can start taking the helm of all of it and take the next steps. For right now though, I’m listening more than I’m speaking and talking, and I’m taking it one step at a time, being in the moment.”

Williams’ arrival at Halas Hall has charged this moment — about four months out from the season opener — with even more excitement than usual as the Bears offseason program begins to kick into high gear.

The Bears have one more rookie minicamp session and then will move into organized team activities later this month, when Williams will become acquainted with his new team as a whole.

Eberflus said there’s a swell of energy in the building, and Williams is contributing to that vibe.

“You can really tell he’s comfortable in his own skin and he is who he is,” Eberflus said. “His light comes out from the inside. You can certainly feel that energy. He’s a 1-plus-1-equals-3 guy. He’s an enhancer. He’s a guy that brings out the best in people. You can certainly feel that in him within five minutes of meeting him.”