Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams' Pro Day all but solidifies his future as Bears' QB — with just one box left to check

The Bears seem ready to turn in the card at No. 1

NBC Universal, Inc.

Caleb Williams' Pro Day on Wednesday at USC was more of a coronation than a workout.

After trading quarterback Justin Fields on Saturday, the Bears sent a large contingent to Los Angeles to watch their presumed future quarterback go through a 50-throw script. The Bears' contingent, which included general manager Ryan Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus, and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, arrived in Los Angeles on Monday and spent time with Williams, both at dinner with the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner and his teammates and in the meeting room.

Wednesday's showcase was the least important part of the three-day evaluation trip. It was more of an announcement of the crystallization of the Bears' quarterback plans. Poles and Eberflus both chatted with Williams' father, Carl, and spent a good chunk of time talking to USC head coach Lincoln Riley. Newly acquired wide receiver Keenan Allen, a Los Angeles resident, came out to watch Williams throw.

Everything about Wednesday's affair was a sign that Williams, barring a dramatic last-second red flag, will be the Bears' pick when they go on the clock at No. 1 overall.

Williams did everything he could Wednesday to make it seem like the decision is still up in the air. NFL Network's Steve Wyche asked the USC star if it was his "full expectation" that he'll be the Bears' selection now that Fields has been traded.

Williams smiled, laughed, and then dodged in a way that signals that he, like everyone else, is aware of where his NFL career will begin.

"I wouldn't say it's my full expectation," Williams said. "Obviously, things can happen. Things can change. I think it's around 33 days or so, 30 days, until April 25. A lot can change. You take it day by day. Handle and control what you can control."

But later, when asked about Allen showing up to his pro day, Williams made what could have been an innocent slip-up or another sign that this is close to a done deal.

"That was great," Williams told Wyche about Allen. "I’ve known Keenan for a little bit now, hung out. 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."

He's here.

Soon, Williams will be as well, with just one final box to check in the evaluation process.

The Bears will host Williams for a Top-30 visit to Halas Hall within the next week or two. During that visit, the Bears will get Williams' medical information.

Assuming all goes well, the final box will be checked, and Williams will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and the new face of the Bears' franchise.

USC's Pro Day on Wednesday was a spectacle as everything around Williams has been since he burst onto the national scene as a freshman star at Oklahoma.

But the workout itself was bland as pro days go. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah referred to it as a "salad" pro day as Williams and his quarterback coach, Will Hewlett, crafted a script to show off Williams' ability to throw from the pocket. A 67-yard strike ended the script, but otherwise, there were minimal fireworks.

The Bears didn't need Williams to do anything special Wednesday. They are aware of the arm talent, the arm elasticity, and all the special plays Williams can provide. Seeing it with their own eyes likely only confirmed what they already knew.

No, the pro-day visit was about continuing to build a relationship with their future quarterback. It was about making sure the path they've been planning to travel is the right one for a franchise seemingly built to start contending in 2024.

“Yeah, it was great. I didn’t really need to learn much. Just building a relationship," Williams told reporters Wednesday about his meeting with the Bears via The Athletic. "They’re trying to see if I’m the right fit to be first pick as QB and possibly be the face of the franchise. They’re trying to figure out if this is the guy they should invest all the time, energy and effort and money into, which is obviously important in this situation. So it was great building relationships.”

After his workout, Williams told FOX Sports' Colin Cowherd that he wants to play in a place "that cares." At the combine, Williams said he wanted to know if the Bears "want to win."

Check. Check.

The Bears and Williams have been getting to know each other and getting comfortable with the partnership they are about to enter.

After the Bears' three days in Los Angeles, consider those boxes also checked off.

There was no drama. No red flags. The workout ended with Williams hugging Poles and Eberflus before his center Justin Dedich embraced his quarterback to celebrate a successful workout and a seemingly solidified future.

Caleb Williams is going to be a Bear, barring something unforeseen. It's fait accompli. All that's left is for the Bears to turn in the card and for their bright future to begin.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us