Caleb Williams to Bears All But Officially Done

One of the more polarizing topics of the offseason will soon reach its intended conclusion and Caleb Williams will be ushered in as the Bears’ next franchise quarterback. That’s a painful pill to swallow for fans of Justin Fields, but it shouldn’t be. The 2024 NFL Draft is less than three weeks away and you won’t find many analysts that believe Ryan Poles will trade the first overall pick.

The Bears don’t have to wait until draft night to make it official, either. The NFL, by rule, allows teams to sign the desired top pick before the draft commences. Even if he signs, however, Williams would be prohibited from joining Chicago’s offseason workouts until after the final pick has been chosen. The USC star had his Top 30 Halas Hall visit on Wednesday, and barring any type of unforeseen tragedy, the 22-year-old will be a Bear very soon.


Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer shared some details from Williams’ visit with the Bears, which included Tuesday night dinner in Lake Forest. D.J. Moore made his first offseason appearance at Halas Hall and spoke highly of Williams.

“What we do know about the quarterback dance is where Caleb Williams is going, Breer wrote. “I’d be floored if it’s not Chicago and, as I see it, the hay has been 95% or so in the barn on this since the combine.

“Still, there are some interesting tidbits from his 30 visit with the team the other night. One is that he went with a dinner group separate from some of the other draft prospects in town, and with not just the team brass, but some veteran players. Then, the next day, for the first time this offseason, [Moore] was in the building. Therein were opportunities for the Bears to see their prospective new quarterback around the older guys he will have to lead, and for Williams himself to get to know his new teammates.

“For what it’s worth, the feedback I got back on how all that went was very positive.”

Williams’ Top 30 visit comes approximately two weeks after Poles, Matt Eberflus, and a contingent of Chicago’s scouts and coaches – and new WR Keenan Allen – attended USC’s Pro Day. Williams is almost universally regarded as the top QB in this year’s draft, and has been labeled a “generational talent” by some analysts. The Bears own the Nos. 1 and 9 picks of the first round.

Here’s the breakdown from analyst Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. for ESPN:

“Williams’ elite improvisational talent, arm strength and ability to pick defenses apart from within the pocket set him apart from the rest of the 2024 class. He has the footspeed to evade pass-rushers in tight spaces. [He also has] the strength to break would-be tackles. His ability to extend plays, adjust his arm angle and make accurate off-platform throws puts great stress on defenses [with] each snap. Williams is also a patient pocket passer. He gets through his progressions given time and space. He presses and tries to make too much happen on some plays but has rare playmaking instincts.”

Williams’ Strengths

  • Williams has an elite arm and can make any throw, even when off balance. He has been compared often to Patrick Mahomes in this regard.
  • Put up ridiculous numbers while winning the Heisman Trophy in 2022. He completed 333 of 500 passing attempts for 4,537 yards and 42 scores with just five interceptions.
  • His play doesn’t drop off when he is under pressure.
  • Can be a threat to run when needed.
  • His play-action is outstanding, and he has the ability to manipulate defensive backs with his eyes.
  • Elite overall accuracy, particularly on short, timing routes.
  • Williams moves effectively and can throw accurately while on the run. He shows zip and accuracy on bootleg throws.
  • Teammates say he is a natural leader who will put the game on his shoulders when needed. Scouts also consider Williams to be very mature.
  • It’s difficult to find any serious issues in his game that can’t easily be remedied.

Here’s what Breer said about Williams’ arm strength (link above):

“You guys know the idea of putting touch on the ball and being able to change speeds and how important that is in football. [I was told] what they see in game situations is that a quarterback has about four miles per hour range on his ball. So most of the quarterbacks they see throw it roughly between 47-51 miles per hour. There’s generally a four-mile per range on a guy’s ball.”

“Williams has 10 miles per hour range. When they worked with him, he’s been 46-56 miles per hour.”

What’s more, Breer mentioned he and scouts believe that Williams is a better runner than Mahomes. The veteran wins the day in arm strength, but Breer said Williams can rip off 40-50-yard runs.

Williams’ Weaknesses

  • Lacks prototypical size at 6-foot-1, 215-220 pounds.
  • Some say his success is a factor of Lincoln Riley’s offense.
  • The bulk of his offense consisted of one-read concepts.
  • Williams has much more experience in shotgun formations than under center.
  • His arm talent often masks footwork and mechanical inconsistencies.
  • Williams tends to hold the ball loosely and away from his body, making him prone to strip sacks.

The most interesting Williams tidbit of this week comes from Rapaport. According to the NFL Insider, Williams will not be visiting any other teams. That makes it a near lock that Poles told the QB he will be selected by the Bears at the top of the draft.

At this point, Williams is all but “officially” a Chicago Bear, and he’ll lead a revamped offense that includes Moore, Allen, Cole Kmet, Gerald Everett, and D’Andre Swift. The only remaining mystery is what Poles will do with the ninth pick.

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