Caleb Williams’ Pro Day: What to Expect

USC is hosting its Pro Day at 12:30 PM CT and all eyes will be on quarterback Caleb Williams, who is widely expected to be the first selection in next month’s NFL Draft. If you have access to NFL Network or NFL+ you can watch all the pageantry live. Williams declined to participate in on-field workouts at this year’s NFL Combine for personal reasons. Ryan Poles and Chicago’s coaching staff will reportedly be present today.

A contingent as big as 7 or 8 people [will be present],” according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “Everybody from Ryan Poles, Ian Cunningham, Matt Eberflus, Shane Waldron, Kerry Joseph. They’re gonna have a lot of people on hand to evaluate Williams at his Pro Day.”

New Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen is also attending. It would be nice to see the two working together, though that won’t be allowed. Discussions for that number 13 jersey may ensue, however.

The Bears hold the top pick in the draft and recently traded incumbent starter Justin Fields to the Steelers. Williams is expected to be Chicago’s choice at No. 1 overall.

Expect the Commanders, Patriots, Vikings, Giants, Broncos, and even the Steelers to also have staff present. Representatives from all 32 teams will likely be present, too, because USC has several draft-eligible players participating, including safety Calen Bullock and running back MarShawn Lloyd.

Pro days, in some ways, are not too dissimilar from the NFL Combine itself, from a purpose standpoint. They are localized events held at an individual school in which prospects perform positional drills, conduct athletic testing, and interface with NFL evaluators. They also provide data vital to the evaluation process.

Williams’ workout, like most Pro Days, will include scripted plays that showcase his arm strength, accuracy, and dynamic ability. One reason top quarterbacks decline to throw at the Combine is that they can freely script the Pro Day session to their strengths while throwing to familiar receivers. One of those wideouts will be Brenden Rice, son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, according to Colin Cowherd.

Poles and his staff are expected to finalize their evaluation today. Williams will meet again with the team at Halas Hall for one of Chicago’s Top 30 visits. They will have the opportunity to speak with their potential starting quarterback today, too. Williams’ conversations with Poles at the Combine were short and cursory. The character evaluation process is one of the more underrated pieces of the puzzle for NFL teams. Williams’ character has been in question by some who prefer another quarterback instead. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his share of alleged red flags.

  • Williams does not have an agent. His father Carl doesn’t trust them and instead advises his son on all financial matters.
  • He also opted not to share his medical information at the Combine. That’s an unusual step for someone perceived to be the top pick. Williams said it was a family decision based on the fact that all 32 NFL teams will not be in a position to draft him.
  • Some insiders say Williams also intends to flaunt traditional NFL conventions. That’s probably based on his unwillingness to share his medicals, however, and shouldn’t be seen as a red flag, at least not yet.

ESPN’s Field Yates believes Williams displays exemplary character and leadership qualities, and said so recently on ESPN 1000.

“I gotta be honest with you guys, I think some of it has been unfair to Caleb so far,” Yates said on the character criticisms Williams has received. “I haven’t heard anything from anybody that’s been in that program, or that’s been around that program, scouting Caleb Williams in person.”

That said, today is more about what Williams can do on the field instead of anything considered extracurricular. He’s an elite prospect who grades out more favorably than several NFL quarterbacks, including Fields. Nobody knows if Williams will be the next Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, the next Fields, or more recently, Bryant Young, but the Bears will have a good idea after today’s workouts.

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