Caleb Williams ‘Built Different’ Than Prior No. 1 QB, Can Overcome Shared Flaw

Caleb Williams Rome Odunze Bears Mock Draft NFL1

Getty Former USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

The Chicago Bears are poised to select quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick but as good as he is, he has one potentially fatal flaw.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network spoke with a variety of scouts and executives about the top 20 QB prospects in the 2024 draft class, then shared their evaluations on Friday, April 19. Most of the commentary on Williams was glowing, though two issues with his game emerged over and again — his height and his tendency to play hero ball.

While the latter can be problematic, it is the former that an AFC executive told Pelissero is the greatest concern around Williams as he heads to the NFL. Bryce Young, last year’s No. 1 overall pick of the Carolina Panthers, suffered from the deficiency and it hurt him during his rookie campaign. However, that may not be the case for Williams due to his other physical attributes.

“The only thing you really don’t like, just strictly on the player, is the height,” the executive told Pelissero. “He is reckless. He does some crazy s—. But at the same time, he creates a lot of big plays. I think you’re just gonna have to live with a little bit of that. A lot of arm talent. He’s shorter. He’s built different than Bryce was, he’s got more thickness to himself. Real confident and instinctive, and you can feel that on tape.”

Bears Can Offer Caleb Williams Better Supporting Cast Than Panthers Provided Bryce Young in Rookie Year

Bryce Young

GettyCarolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young.

Ironically, the Panthers gave away the store in a trade with the Bears to move up for Young, including a first-round selection that became the No. 1 selection in 2024, which will allow Chicago to draft Williams next week if it so chooses.

Young’s height and slightness of build weren’t the only issues he faced during his rookie campaign. Carolina also saddled him with a deficient roster, which has led to major changes at the top of that organization.

All that said, Young was able to muster just 2,877 passing yards, 11 TDs and 10 INTs across 16 starts (2-14), as the Panthers threw him immediately to the wolves around the league. Williams is likely to start from Week 1 in Chicago if he lands there, though the circumstances there are exceedingly different.

The Bears have amassed a trio of quality pass-catchers in DJ Moore, who they also acquired from the Panthers in that now fateful trade ahead of the 2023 draft, along with Pro Bowl wideout Keenan Allen and tight end Cole Kmet. Chicago added Pro Bowl running back D’Andre Swift in free agency and have the Nos. 9, 75 and 122 to add to a roster that produced a playoff-level defense down the stretch of last season.

Caleb Williams Makes Up for Hero Ball With ‘Rare’ Plays

Washington Commanders, Caleb Williams, Chicago Bears

GettyQuarterback Caleb Williams, formerly of USC.

While Williams can’t do anything to make himself taller, he can make different decisions mid-play and cut down on his hero ball antics. The cast of talent around him should make that change all the easier for Williams.

However, the Bears won’t want to stifle all the instinctive qualities and creativity that make Williams special — much in the same way those qualities make Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes special. And Williams can make up for whatever mistakes he does make, and then some, by making what one NFC scout told Pelissero were “rare” plays.

“He tries to be a hero all the time, but he does some rare, rare stuff in terms of arm talent and just flicking the ball,” the scout said. “He can do it all. He’s obviously really athletic, explosive, productive. He’s got [9 3/4-inch] hands. The ball comes off his hand easy. He throws from ridiculous arm angles. He just plays around too much. … But he’s such a natural football player with everything that I don’t see that being a hiccup at all.”

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