Ex-NFL star Ryan Leaf warns team about top prospect Caleb Williams

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The Chicago Bears currently hold the top pick in next month’s NFL Draft. 

For almost two years, former USC quarterback Caleb Williams has been projected to be the first player taken once he decided to declare for the draft.

But, after the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner’s production slightly dropped in 2023, more and more questions began to surface about whether he should be the first quarterback taken in this year’s draft. Some have even argued about whether Williams’ skillset would transfer to the NFL. 

Ryan Leaf, the second overall pick in the 1998 draft, appears to be among those who have some doubts about Williams.


Ryan Leaf attends a college football game

Ryan Leaf walking off the field before a college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia State Panthers on August 31, 2019, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN.   (Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Leaf doesn’t believe Caleb Williams should be a Day 1 starter for whatever NFL team that drafts him.

His comments about Williams came during the latest “Dan Patrick Show” when Dan Patrick started the conversation with a simple question: “If the Bears take Caleb Williams…?”

That’s when Leaf surprised the audience.

Leaf said that the majority of Williams’ skill set is not transferable without development.


Caleb Williams warms up

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams warms up before an NCAA college football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

“If you take him, you better be under the understanding that you’re going to sit him this year — and that’s not going to happen,” Leaf said about the potential No. 1 pick.

“Seventy-five percent of what made him so great in college is not transferable to the NFL. He’s not going to be able to do that. He can’t do what he did in college 75% of the time and be successful at the NFL level,” explained Leaf. “He can do the 25% at the NFL level, but he needs some time.”

So what is the 75% of the game that he can’t do right now? 

Well, Leaf explained Williams doesn’t play under center, doesn’t play on time and learned to play the quarterback position from the pocket.

Leaf went on to say that the only two quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft that he believes can start Day 1 are Jayden Daniels and Michael Penix Jr.

Caleb Williams chased down

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, left, gets away from Washington defensive end Bralen Trice during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)


The former NFL quarterback explained that Penix’s accuracy makes him the best quarterback prospect in the draft this year — not Williams.

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