Pro day is over. So what’s next for top QB prospect Caleb Williams?

Visits at team facilities likely on horizon for Williams

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws during the NCAA college football team's NFL Pro Day, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

All 32 NFL teams gathered at USC in Los Angeles this week to watch top quarterback prospect Caleb Williams show off his arm.

In a highly choreographed 20-minute throwing session, Williams connected with his receivers again and again. He missed his target on only one or two deep passes. Everything pretty much went to plan for Williams, and the 22-year-old quarterback appeared to have a good time with his teammates. Williams did not participate in other athletic events, such as the 40-yard dash or the bench press.

Afterward, there were plenty of handshakes, hugs and daps to go around – including with Bears general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. The Bears, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s draft, were heavily represented at Williams’ pro day. Per multiple reports, the Bears also met with Williams for dinner earlier in the week.

With any top prospect, but especially with a quarterback, getting to know the person is just as important as getting to know the player. The Bears are widely expected to draft Williams with the top pick, but he still has to check several boxes.

Poles and Eberflus wouldn’t draft Williams if they weren’t comfortable with his makeup. If they do draft him, he will be under intense scrutiny. Chicago is the largest media market in the NFL with only one team. The Bears just traded a popular former first-round draft pick in Justin Fields, paving the way for them to potentially select Williams. The organization needs to be sure that Williams can handle the attention and the expectations he will face in Chicago.

Poles also needs to be sure that Williams is a good teammate. The visuals of Williams laughing and having a good time with his teammates during pro day were important. The Bears, no doubt, have been asking every USC prospect they talk to about Williams. They also, notably, interviewed former USC assistant coach Kliff Kingsbury for their offensive coordinator position in January. They certainly picked his brain about Williams.

So with pro day under his belt, what’s next for Williams?

Next up will be individual meetings with teams at their training facilities. NFL teams are allowed to invite up to 30 prospects for in-person visits. Folks in the league typically call these “30 visits.”

These visits include a medical examination. Williams skipped the medical exams at the NFL Scouting Combine. He said he didn’t want all 32 teams to have his medical information.

“I’ll be doing it at the team interviews,” Williams said March 1 at the combine. “Not 32 [teams] can draft me. There’s only one of me. So, the teams that I go to for my visit, those teams will have the medical, and that’ll be it.”

Williams did not suffer any concerning injuries in college. He dealt with a minor hamstring injury at USC but was otherwise injury-free.

At his pro day Wednesday, Williams told the NFL Network broadcast that he hadn’t narrowed down his visits yet.

“We’re still figuring the visits out,” Williams said. “We’ll have all of that solved here pretty soon. We wanted to make sure that we came out here and put on a show for everybody and focus on my training.”

We’re still figuring the visits out. We’ll have all of that solved here pretty soon. We wanted to make sure that we came out here and put on a show for everybody and focus on my training.”

—  Caleb Williams, USC quarterback

Some prospects might visit a half dozen teams or more during this process. Williams is in a unique position where he can be selective because he knows he won’t last long in the draft. The Bears hold the first pick, but the Washington Commanders and the New England Patriots are sitting in spots No. 2 and No. 3 in the draft order.

These “30 visits” typically include several hours of interviews with coaches and front office personnel. For a potential franchise quarterback, it might even include a handshake and a quick meeting with team leaders such as president Kevin Warren or chairman George McCaskey.

The draft is about a month away. The first round is scheduled for prime time April 25. This is the home stretch. A visit at Halas Hall will be critical and will be the last major milestone before draft night.

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.