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Simms QB rankings: Caleb Williams already ahead of Justin Fields

Simms QB rankings: Caleb Williams already ahead of Justin Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Is Caleb Williams already a better quarterback than Justin Fields? Former NFL QB and Pro Football Talk co-host Chris Simms believes so.

Simms has been slowly unveiling his yearly QB power rankings this month, and on Tuesday Simms revealed his spots for both Fields and Williams.

At No. 20, Williams is the highest Simms has ever ranked a rookie in his annual QB list.

“I look at him as being a natural, being a ‘Chosen One’ type of guy," Simms explained on his "Unbuttoned" podcast. He’s been in an offense in his college career where it was on his shoulders and he was asked to read the field and check and do things at the line of scrimmage.

“He’s very mature for a quarterback, as far as the play is concerned.”

Simms went on to praise how Williams carried a poor USC team, despite the unimpressive win-loss record, and Williams’ mental fortitude to continue competing at a high level despite the adversity he faced.

“His physical talent is extraordinary. Extraordinary. I also think he has the mentality and the maturity to handle Chicago and handle the new offensive situation.

“I know it might not be perfect in Week 1 or 2, but I’m betting more in Week 5 or 6 that– like we saw with C.J. Stroud last year– we’re going to be going ‘Holy crap, Caleb Williams.’”

Simms also took time to highlight Williams’ ability as a rusher, which he said gets overshadowed because Williams was in the same draft class as Jayden Daniels.

Simms has questioned Fields’ mechanics since Fields was back at Ohio State. In the past, he’s acknowledged Fields’ high upside as a playmaker, but has critiqued Fields’ lack of consistency.

“You get into it, and you see that, and you start to go, ‘This is awesome when you see it on ESPN or the NBC Sports highlights,” Simms said when he revealed his QB rankings last year. “Yeah, these are cool to watch.’ But then you start to break down the game and you go, ‘Oh man, he missed this throw,’ or ‘He should’ve thrown it, but he didn’t throw it.’”

Those critiques held true in 2023. But he believes there’s still a chance for Fields to succeed in the NFL despite being relegated to backup duties with the Steelers this year.

“He’s the greatest athlete at quarterback in the NFL right now," Simms said on "Unbuttoned." "That’s the No. 1 headline. There is nobody that can move and run like Justin Fields.

“I love his grit, his toughness, his lay it on the line-ness to win a football game. It kinda permeates off the film when you watch it. I will never question Justin Fields’ will to win a game.”

Simms believes those intangible qualities help teammates gravitate towards Fields. It’s the type of leadership that can galvanize a group. Simms also believes Fields made strides as a pocket passer in his three years with the Bears.

“But it’s still not where you would like it, bottom line… He’s still being managed, and within the pocket he still plays at what I would call an average level compared to what we expect out of big-time starting NFL quarterbacks.

“So there’s still more work there that needs to be done.”

Simms ranked Fields as the No. 23 quarterback in the NFL both in 2023 and 2022.

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