Ryan Poles describes similarities between Caleb Williams, Patrick Mahomes

Ryan Poles describes similarities between Caleb Williams, Patrick Mahomes originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The debate over whether or not Caleb Williams is a generational talent has been interesting to observe.

Lauded for his off-platform throws, improvised playmaking, game management and athleticism, there's certainly a reason he's projected by a landslide to be picked first in the 2024 NFL Draft.

On the other hand, there have been draft busts before, and there will be draft busts again. And the quarterback didn't have a remarkable 2023 season at USC, with a loss to Notre Dame in which he threw for under 200 yards and three interceptions.

There's one bit of discourse, though, that's particularly hard to ignore.

He's repeatedly been compared to two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 when they scouted and drafted Mahomes, shared his own analysis of the lofty comparison.

"There's pieces that are similar," Poles told reporters in Indianapolis Tuesday. "Obviously, the one stands out to everyone is just different arm angles. That's a unique trait, not a lot of guys can do that."

Poles credited co-director of player personnel Jeff King for painting a picture of how to categorize quarterbacks.

"There's artists, and then there's surgeons," he said.

He explained that Mahomes and Williams are artists due to their creativity and ability to "draw outside the lines." Surgeons are more like Tom Brady and Payton Manning.

"That's where they're similar," he said.

The Mahomes comparison understandably draws a wide variety of responses. Some see the USC star’s "Mahomes-like" traits as a reason to believe Williams will ascend to top-five quarterback status shortly after arriving in the NFL.

There are, of course, others who view the rhetoric as blasphemy — a heretical phrase that disrespects a three-time Super Bowl champion and oversets expectations for Williams.

And then there's Justin Fields, who, at the very least, is a serviceable quarterback lacking the proper weapons — weapons that could be bought by trading away the No. 1 overall pick.

At this point, it's about what the worst-case scenario would be. Justin Fields could turn out to be the quarterback the Bears hoped he would be with another team while Williams stumbles through his first few years in the league. Poles could roll with Fields and receive a big enough haul to make them NFC North contenders while Williams lights the league on fire in another city.

After passing on Mahomes once before, the latter sounds worse.

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