Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of the year on Monday night, and he’s got the Bears going chalk with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. In a video posted to YouTube, Kiper Jr. explained why he believes the Bears will select USC quarterback Caleb Williams when they turn in their draft card this April.
“Caleb Williams is just too doggone good,” Kiper Jr. said. “You go back to 2022 and he was daggone near perfect.”
Williams won the Heisman trophy that season when he completed 66.7% of his passes for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five interceptions with another 382 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
“He gives you that arm talent, that ability to see the field, and also do things from an improvisational standpoint that only the great ones can do,” Kiper Jr. said. “He can take a play that’s going to be a disaster and make it a positive play, and get you in field goal range, maybe set up a touchdown or create a touchdown, where nobody else could.”
Some folks have nitpicked Williams’ 2023 seasons, pointing out a poor three-interception performance against the Fighting Irish, or his dip in production (324 pass yards/game in 2022 vs. 303 pass yds/gm in 2023). But Kiper Jr. dismissed a lot of the criticism Williams has faced recently.
“I think when you’re at the top, people want to knock you off your perch. I think when you’re at the top as an underclassman, and you win a Heisman trophy, and you’re daggone near perfect, and you come into this year– I thought he was going to win the Heisman again… then they start to say, ‘Well, this game, that game.’ Then they pick apart different things that they see.”
Some detractors have pointed to Williams crying in the stands with his mom after a loss, or his painted nails, or his aspirations to own a team one day, as red flags. Kiper doesn’t see it that way.
“For me a lot of this is nonsense. I went back and I studied two years ago and this year, there’s not much not to like. You’ve gotta love this kid.”