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Could the Chicago Bears pick J.J. McCarthy instead of Caleb Williams?

Most NFL draftniks expect the Chicago Bears to select former USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick. While there was a lot of speculation over the past year that Williams strongly desired to not be selected by the NFC North franchise, there’s one player in the 2024 NFL draft who would happily play for the Bears.

Former Michigan football QB J.J. McCarthy.

Of course, McCarthy would want to be a No. 1 overall pick and it appears unlikely that will happen, at least based on current discourse. But that’s not the only reason why he’d want to go to that franchise. McCarthy is a Chicago native who grew up rooting for the Bears and dreaming of suiting up and playing in Soldier Field as the hometown quarterback.

While it may seem like a pipe dream to many, the Bears have, in fact, had a formal meeting with McCarthy, he shared at the NFL scouting combine on Friday.

“Been great — formal interview. It was awesome watching tape with them,” McCarthy said. “Going over our plays a little bit and they got me up on the board to retain some information. I did pretty well, so it was awesome.”

It would be apropos if McCarthy did end up being selected by Chicago, not only because it is his hometown team. But his former head coach, Jim Harbaugh, famously was a first-round selection by the Bears back in the mid-1980s. And there have been a lot of parallels between the two quarterbacks in their style of play and demeanor on the field.

If McCarthy was to be selected by Chicago, the likely scenario would be the Bears trading down, because no matter how the former Wolverines signal caller tests out compared to Williams (who is not participating in the combine but assuredly will have a pro day), some team is going to be tantalized by the QB who was hyped up as the No. 1 overall pick for more than a year now.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire