This college football season is truly about one player: Caleb Williams.
Well, and whatever Shadeur and Deion Sanders have going on in Colorado. And a little Drake Maye. But the majority of the chatter is about the USC Trojan signal caller and his (possibly) final collegiate season.
This season, Williams has thrown for 2,021 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions in just seven games. He has an exquisite 70% completion percentage coupled with 10 yards per passing attempt. His numbers are truly remarkable.
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But it's his intangibles that have scouts raving. One AFC scout, according to a story done by ESPN, called Williams "one of the best football players, flat out, I've ever scouted."
Arguably Williams' most valued trait --- similar to several elite quarterbacks in the NFL --- is his pristine ability to improvise, but with accuracy and execution. His QBR in the pocket, which tops the NCAA charts, is one point lower than his QBR out of the pocket. That Mahomes-like ability is partly the reason scouts are drooling over him.
"With Caleb, there are a number of throws [and runs] in his toolbox that just don't exist in most," said 'one scout for an NFL team with a potential need at quarterback' via the ESPN story. "What really sets him apart is his elusive combination of feel for when to take those calculated risks, the willingness to do so and the physical ability to actually pull it off at a consistent rate."
These rave reviews should have the Chicago Bears thinking.
As it stands, the Bears have the first two picks in the 2024 NFL draft by way of the Panthers' pick they earned via trade last March, and theirs. With just one win through six weeks and Justin Fields on the shelf, should the Bears start planning to make Williams a Bear?
Fields was on a tear before a thumb injury forced him out of last Sunday's game against the Vikings. He threw for 617 yards and eight touchdowns over the two games prior to his injury. He displayed signs of being the quarterback the Bears have asked him to become.
Unfortunately, Fields doesn't have a timetable to return from his thumb injury. Even so, it appeared his tear was coming to an end against the Vikings. He threw for 58 yards and one interception before Tyson Bagent --- who threw for more yards in the ensuing two drives --- took over under center.
It's gone south enough for Fields, even The Athletic is drawing up mock trades they'd like to see happen to move Fields elsewhere. The predominant line of thinking is Fields would be a snug fit with the Atlanta Falcons, Fields' hometown team and a team who was interested in him leading up to the 2021 NFL draft.
Either way this season unfolds for the Bears, it'll be very difficult to pass on Williams if they have a shot at him.
"Williams would have been drafted first overall in both 2020 [over Burrow] and 2021 [Lawrence]," an 'NFL general manager' said to ESPN. "That's no knock on either player -- and they're both really good in the league -- but Williams is a difference-maker. Joe and Trevor are distributors. Great ones.
"Caleb is a game-changer."