Keenan Allen attends USC pro day to watch potential future teammate Caleb Williams



?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F24%2F16%2Fa71f0210462d9d2deb405e74e5c7%2F1422122 sp 0320 usc pro day wjs004

Nearly two dozen of Caleb Williams’ former USC teammates joined him on the field Wednesday for the school’s annual pro day.

This was not unexpected, the Trojans having plenty of talent that has grabbed the interest of the pros.

More notable was the presence of one of Williams’ future teammates. Well, at least, one of his presumed future teammates.

Keenan Allen, the former longtime Charger traded last week to Chicago, watched — along with numerous NFL scouts, coaches and executives — from the sidelines, dressed in Bears blue and orange.

“To possibly be able to have him as a wide receiver … ,” Williams said later, “all the knowledge that you can gain from someone like that is great.”

On April 25, Chicago has the draft’s No. 1 pick. Williams is expected to be that first choice, though he was careful to assume nothing while answering questions from the media afterward.

General manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus were among the Bears’ contingent at the workout on USC’s campus. Williams said he also met formally with the team this week.

“Just building relationships,” Williams explained. “[They’re] trying to see if I’m the right fit to be first pick, to be possibly the face of the franchise.”

After finishing his college career by throwing for 72 touchdowns and more than 8,000 yards over the last two years at USC, Williams has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City’s three-time Super Bowl champion.

Listed at 6-foot-1, he is an inch shorter than Mahomes and about 10 pounds lighter — Williams said he is currently at 217, which he called his normal playing weight — and both quarterbacks are known for their elusiveness and creativity on the run.

“You may not see it right now, but I sit back sometimes and think, ‘Wow,’ ” Williams said. “I’ve been working my tail off just to get to this point and working my tail off for the points after.”

Chicago seemed to set up its selection of Williams at No. 1 last week by trading former starter Justin Fields to Pittsburgh. This is a franchise that has been historically quarterback-starved, making Williams even more enticing.

Still, there remains speculation that Williams would prefer to play elsewhere or would be better off with another team, something he has never indicated in any public comments.

Just recently, Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick of the 2012 draft, implored Williams on social media to insist that the Bears not draft him. He likened the situation to 20 years ago when the Chargers selected a less-than-enthused Eli Manning at No. 1 and then traded him to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

Again Wednesday, Williams did not sound like a player intent on trying to manipulate his future in such a way.

“Learning and adapting,” he said when asked what he’s most looking forward to in the NFL. “Getting back in the locker room … being part of a team and getting ready to win ballgames.”

Several of his former Trojans teammates ran the 40-yard dash and participated in various individual drills, but Williams limited his pro-day participation to throwing.

He worked with a group that included wide receivers Brenden Rice and Tahj Washington and running back MarShawn Lloyd, each of whom also was invited to the NFL combine.

“Caleb is the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft,” Lloyd said. “I think that speaks for itself.”

Asked how his ex-quarterback looked, Rice said, “He was bombing away.”

Williams lamented some missed throws but seemed pleased overall with how he performed in front of representatives of each of the league’s 32 teams.

Among those in attendance were Washington head coach Dan Quinn, Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz and Las Vegas passing game coordinator Scott Turner.

“The pro day just confirms — or doesn’t — what you already know about the guy,” Turner said. “There was nothing out there today that makes you think any differently about what Caleb’s put on tape the last three years.”

Turner’s father, Norv, a longtime NFL coach, also was impressed with Williams.

“This guy’s phenomenal,” he said. “He’s so comfortable throwing a football, so natural. He’s not even thinking about it. Just doing it. So that to me is what you look for. … He knows how to make all the throws, and he plays that way.”

Norv Turner did say mistakes can be made basing opinions solely off pro-day workouts. He said breaking down game performance is more important.

“I always thought if you went to a driving range and watched a pro golfer, they all hit it great,” he said. “But you’d want to watch him play.”

If the Bears do the expected at No. 1 next month, Williams would join an offense that includes Allen, wide receiver DJ Moore, tight ends Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett and running back D’Andre Swift.

That is the sort of support that would aid a young quarterback, one who just moved a little closer to the NFL.

“I wanted to come out here and put on a show,” Williams said. “But also I’ve been working on mainly training and training for this next step. … I’m excited. I’m ready, ready to get this thing rocking and rolling.”

Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top