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Merril Hoge had harsh evaluation of Caleb Williams ahead of NFL draft

The Chicago Bears have an important decision to make at quarterback this offseason, where the expectation is they’ll draft USC’s Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

At this point, it certainly feels like an inevitability. But not everyone is a fan of the Bears potentially moving on from Justin Fields in favor of Williams.

Former NFL fullback and analyst Merril Hoge was asked about Chicago’s quarterback situation. Should they keep Fields or use the first overall pick on Williams? His opinion on the matter is very strong.

Hoge believes that the Bears should keep Fields; that he needs more experience and has shown enough in the NFL to warrant the chance. With more around him and more time, according to Hoge, Fields can become a winning player in this league.

His comments on Williams, however, are very strong. Hoge offered harsh criticism of Williams, where he believes there is nothing special about the USC star’s game. He admittedly only watched three of his games from this year and three from the previous season (so far). It might not be enough film to claim that strong but it is the way he feels right now.

“First of all, his ability to throw on the run is very disturbing,” Hoge told NBC Sports Chicago. “It is very inaccurate and it’s all over the place. There’s a ton of RPO, which nobody is going to RPO themselves to a Super Bowl in our league. … You gotta push the ball down the field. There are times when he does that. He doesn’t play with a lot of anticipation because of all the clean pockets that exist for him.

“The thing that’s disturbing me right now is his inability to be consistent on the move as a thrower. And he’s willing to do that a lot more than he has to. You don’t have that choice in our league. … I don’t see anything magical with his arm. There’s not enough there at this point for me to be like we’re getting rid of Justin Fields and bring this guy in, who’s never played in the National Football League and has to overcome all of those hurdles just to give us a chance to win.”

Hoge is entitled to his opinion based on what he’s seen. He doesn’t think Williams is even close to being a game-changer in the way that Patrick Mahomes is. Is it fair to expect that? Probably not. The question is whether or not he can be a top-flight quarterback so the Bears can have a chance to win.

It seems as if a lot of former players believe Chicago should keep Fields, but a lot of football people that are not former players think they should move on. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is general manager Ryan Poles. It is on him to make this career-defining decision.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire