Wednesday, July 24, 2024

GM Ryan Poles bears down on Caleb Williams feedback: 'They don't want him, they want him'

Orlando, Fla. – The Chicago Bears are doing their due diligence on USC quarterback Caleb Williams ahead of the NFL draft, and general manager Ryan Boles said the “feedback was good” at the owners' meetings Monday morning.

That may be an understatement.

“When you talk to his teammates, they don't like him, they love him,” Boles said. “His leadership is how he brings people together. He's intentional with his leadership. The same goes for the staff.

“I find it very hard to find a person who doesn't like him or love him.”

Boles said the same people believe Williams “can reach very high limits.”

The Bears will visit Williams at Halas Hall the first week of April. That's when their first-round visits with draft prospects take place. The Bears will receive a medical on Williams during that visit after Williams passes the test at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Bears' work on the quarterback class will continue this week. The Poles will head to LSU's pro day immediately following the owners' meetings. The Poles won't be in attendance at North Carolina quarterback Drake May's pro day, but the Bears will have a contingent presence.

At LSU, Boles and company will likely watch quarterback Jayden Daniels work out and watch receivers Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. closely.

The Poles also discussed the Bears' trade of quarterback Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The GM said he and coach Matt Eberflus got together at Eberflus' home and called Fields. It was “one of the hardest things we've ever had to do, but I thought we needed to go in the right direction,” he said.

Boles said Fields' jersey hangs in his son's room and is a “visual reminder of how hard those moves are.” However, he felt it was the “best” move for the company.

The Poles noted the “extensive” start Fields had to deal with as a rookie in Chicago, and the GM later admitted, “We had to do some cleanup and then another year of delay in adding talent and support.”

While Boles didn't want to make it about Fields vs. Williams or any rookie, the way he described what he decided was telling.

“It's really about the timeline and how much runway you have,” he said. “To get a guy off the ground, you have to back them up with as much talent as possible. And then that fits. It takes up a lot of cap space, and it's good if you get to that point. But they have to be the reason you win. Then it's hard to add talent around them. You look around the league. , that happens a lot. I think the teams that can sustain success over that period of time do a really good job.

That's the ultimate goal at quarterback, and the Bears feel they have a better chance of achieving it with a rookie than the underachieving Fields, who was coming up on a new contract early.

Boles said the trade for senior wide receiver Keenan Allen was part of that process.

“I don't think there's a better receiver in the league for a young quarterback in the NFL, understanding timing, spacing, reading defenses,” Boles said.

Required reading

(Photo: Brandon Slaughter/Sports Image/Getty Images)

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