Caleb Williams throws in front of Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus at USC’s pro day

Even new Bears WR Keenan Allen showed up to watch Williams

USC quarterback Caleb Williams watches as players run a drill at the NFL combine, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Indianapolis.

All eyes were on sunny California on Wednesday.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams threw the football in front of NFL evaluators for the first time in four months at USC’s pro day Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Williams threw for about 20 minutes with his USC receivers and running backs. The workout did not include a tight end. All 32 NFL teams were present to watch Williams and his USC teammates participate. Bears general manager Ryan Poles, assistant general manager Ian Cunningham and head coach Matt Eberflus were all present, in addition to numerous other team scouts and coaches.

Even new Bears receiver Keenan Allen made an appearance. If the Bears do select Williams with the No. 1 overall draft pick next month, he could be throwing the football to Allen as soon as OTAs in the spring.

“That was great,” Williams said in an interview on the NFL Plus broadcast. “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, good guy, and he can give you a lot of knowledge.”

The Bears traded a 2024 fourth-round draft pick to the Chargers last week in exchange for Allen. Allen has spent the past 11 seasons with the Chargers and, less than a week since the trade, still lives in Los Angeles.

While all 32 teams were present Wednesday, the Bears had a large contingent. They hold the top pick in the draft thanks to last year’s trade with the Carolina Panthers. They also traded starting quarterback Justin Fields over the weekend, paving the way for them to select a quarterback with the first pick.

Williams is the overwhelming favorite to be that top pick.

It’s certainly not a foregone conclusion, but the NFL world would be shocked if the Bears selected anybody other than Williams. North Carolina’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Michigan’s JJ McCarthy are also considered top quarterback prospects behind Williams.

“Obviously, things can happen, things can change. I think it’s around 30 days until April 25. A lot can change. Control what you can control.”

—  Caleb Williams, USC quarterback

Eberflus and Poles stood directly behind Williams as he worked out Wednesday. NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche sat down with Williams on the live broadcast minutes after the workout ended. Wyche asked Williams if his expectation is to play for the Chicago Bears next season.

“It’s a good question,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t say it’s my full expectation. Obviously, things can happen, things can change. I think it’s around 30 days until April 25. A lot can change. Control what you can control.”

During the workout, Williams primarily showed what he can do in the pocket, both out of shotgun formations and from under center. He threw deep balls and short passes, and even ended his workout with a 40-yard punt. There was, of course, no defense on the field.

The workout was quick and to the point. Williams missed a throw or two here and there, but he looked like he was having a good time with his teammates.

“I had to go out there and show that I was having fun and lead by example,” Williams said.

Williams wore a black USC t-shirt with a No. 13 on it. He measured in at 6 feet, 7/8 inches tall (that was 1/4 of an inch shorter than his NFL Scouting Combine measurement). He weighed in at 217 pounds. His hands were measured at 9 7/8 inches wide.

Williams said afterward that he’s still solidifying which teams he will meet with. The focus prior to Wednesday was on his workout. No doubt, several teams at the top of the draft will try to meet with Williams. The Washington Commanders hold the No. 2 pick in the draft, and the New England Patriots are sitting at No. 3.

But the Bears control all the cards. If they want Williams, he’s theirs for the taking.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.