Caleb Williams confidential: Buzz from NFL scouting combine on what Bears must consider with No. 1 draft pick

Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

INDIANAPOLIS — Around 9 a.m. local time Friday, USC quarterback Caleb Williams will step onto Podium 4 inside Great Hall J at the Indianapolis Convention Center and look out over a mob of football reporters trying to use every second of their allotted 20 minutes to take their snapshot of the most talked about prospect in this year’s NFL draft class.

What makes Williams tick? What are his greatest playing strengths? How will he respond to both the widespread praise and the array of criticism aimed at him?

From that stage, Williams will see the horde, listen to the flurry of rapid-fire questions and attempt to give his sales pitch for what he hopes to offer a team as its franchise quarterback.

The Chicago Bears own the No. 1 selection in the draft, which begins April 25, and are immersed in a study of the quarterback class — with Williams at the center of their radar. General manager Ryan Poles has made it clear his homework on draft-eligible quarterbacks requires a heightened focus on each prospect’s wiring beyond on-field productivity.

“I’ve talked about that a lot,” Poles said Tuesday. “What is the (player’s) makeup, his leadership? How do they handle pressure? How do they handle pressure in a big city like ours? A lot of those factors go into it.”

The Bears have a long way to go in their vetting process. What has become crystal clear in recent months, though, is there’s a high volume of opinion on Williams as talent evaluators, coaches and analysts try to assess his skill set and forecast his future.


Around just about every corner of the NFL scouting combine this week, someone in the league seems ready and eager to chime in on the evaluation of Williams and the pivotal decision facing Poles and the Bears.

Over the last two months, the Tribune has gathered intel from a wide variety of sources on what the chief decision-makers at Halas Hall need to consider to guide a decision that could change the direction of the franchise for the next decade. That mission continues this week in Indianapolis, furthering an unofficial Williams scouting report we began compiling last month.

Here are 12 more things to consider about the USC quarterback’s talent, background and potential.

1. The talent portion of the Williams evaluation is, on the whole, extremely glowing.


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