May 18, 2024

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Caleb Williams shows off his skill set at USC's pro day

Caleb Williams shows off his skill set at USC's pro day

LOS ANGELES — In front of representatives of all 32 NFL teams, the former USC quarterback Caleb Williams — widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft — showed off his skill set during his pro day on Wednesday.

“I wanted to come out here and put on a show,” Williams said. “And I think it went well.”

The teams in attendance got to see Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, do something he hasn't done since the 2023 college football season ended: throw the ball.

At this month's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Williams decided to forego medical testing and measurements. He also did not perform or participate in any training.

“I didn't feel the need to come out and throw,” Williams said at the combine. “I think I played about 30 matches. Come and watch real football of me and see how I am as a competitor.”

Williams, a junior who declared for the draft on the last day he was able to do so, said he was only taking medical tests for on-squad visits, and wasn't even considering the possibility that he wouldn't be the top overall pick for the draft.

“It's not a thought I had in mind,” Williams said. “I don't think I'll ever be No. 1. I've put in all the hard work. I don't think about Plan B.”

During his three college seasons — one at Oklahoma and two at USC — Williams accounted for 10,082 yards and 93 touchdown passes while also adding 27 rushing TDs.

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After a sophomore season in which Williams burst onto the scene with 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns while almost leading USC to a College Football Playoff berth, he began to be discussed as a top overall draft pick.

His potential as a franchise quarterback was on display for every NFL team's scouts on Wednesday at USC, as Williams took his time arriving on a packed Allison Felix Stadium.

Once he arrived, Williams made his way to Chicago Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen, who hugged him, before making his way around the field to greet USC coaches and staff who were also in attendance.

The Bears, who hold the No. 1 overall draft pick, sent a fleet of representatives that included general manager Ryan Bowles and coach Matt Eberflus in addition to Allen.

“Having the general manager and coach here to watch me…is really cool,” Williams said. “I've known Keenan for probably a year and hung out with him a few times, so it's exciting for me to go to the same team as him.”

At one point, while Williams was warming up on a different court, both Poles and Allen went to the sideline to interact with Williams' parents, including his father, Karl.

Throughout his 50 or so pass attempts, Williams' timing and accuracy looked effortless, especially on throws across the court and on the move. Overall, only four balls hit the ground. Williams was then quick to diagnose the two throws he missed, detailing why one needed more hang time while the other was slightly behind the receiver.

Once the session ended, Williams ended up kicking a penalty before greeting USC coach Lincoln Riley and the Bears' brass as well as Washington Commanders general manager Adam Peters.

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Williams confirmed that he met with the Bears in Los Angeles on Monday.

“I don't think I really need to learn much,” Williams said of their interaction. “Just build a relationship.”

Williams added that he weighs about 217 pounds and has done work to prepare to take hits from much larger defenders than he faced in college.

Williams said he tries to maintain perspective while also allowing himself to embrace the excitement of the moment.

“This is something I've been waiting for, dreaming about and working for,” Williams said. “I'm excited and I'm ready. And the things I'm not ready for, I'll be ready.”