USC QB Caleb Williams takes stage with Bears, Commanders watching

League: NFL

Posted on: 21 Mar, 2024 at 01:12 AM

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Caleb Williams had a lot of eyes on him during Southern California's pro day on Wednesday in Los Angeles, including those of new Chicago Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Allen's attendance is noteworthy considering Williams is the presumptive favorite to be selected by the Bears with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft next month.

The two shared a quick embrace on the sideline Wednesday. If the Bears select Williams with the top overall pick on April 25 in Detroit, the pair will be spending even more time together.

"Hell of an athlete," Allen said of Williams earlier this week. "Obviously, he can make tremendous plays with his feet, with his arm. Looks like he knows the game really well. Really good."

Williams was quick to return the compliment on Wednesday.

"I've known Keenan for a little bit now, hung out," Williams said, per NBC Sports Chicago. "He was at the Chargers. Now he's at the Bears, he's here for a fourth-round pick, which is crazy. He's a beast, a good guy, and he can give you a lot of knowledge."

Bears general manager Ryan Poles was spotted talking with Caleb's father, Carl, at the pro day. Assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, head coach Matt Eberflus, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph also were in attendance and had dinner with Williams on Tuesday night.

"I don't think I really need to learn much, just building a relationship," Williams said. "They're trying to see if I'm the right fit to be the first pick as a QB and go possibly as the face of the franchise. They're trying to figure out if it's the guy they should invest all the time, energy, effort and money into, which is obviously important in this situation. It was great building relationships."

The Washington Commanders, another QB-needy team slated to pick No. 2 in the draft, had head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Adam Peters flanked by one of Williams' former assistant coaches when they walked onto the field Wednesday morning. New Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, previously employed as USC's senior offensive analyst focusing on quarterbacks, took the field with Quinn -- both wearing baseball hats backward -- to watch the workout and chatted with Williams beforehand.

The Bears are in need of a starting quarterback after trading 2021 first-round selection Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick. That pick could become a fourth-rounder if Fields plays at least 50 percent of the snaps for Pittsburgh.

Williams, 22, passed for 3,633 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 games last season. In his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 2022, Williams threw for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five picks. He also rushed for 21 scores in his two seasons with the Trojans after transferring from Oklahoma.

Allen, who turns 32 on April 27, was selected to his sixth Pro Bowl in 2023 when he had a career-high 108 receptions for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games.

--Field Level Media