Caleb Williams would not mind if the Falcons traded up to get him

INDIANAPOLIS — Former USC quarterback Caleb Williams would not mind playing for the Falcons.

There’s one little glitch in that plan.

“If they trade up to No. 1, I’ll be there,” Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after his session at the podium Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Falcons hold the eighth overall pick in the draft, which will be held April 25-27 in Detroit. If the Falcons stay in their spot, Williams will be long gone, likely to the Chicago Bears, who hold the No. 1 overall pick.

The cost to move up from the eighth spot to the first spot would be considerable. The Panthers moved up from the ninth spot to No. 1 last year, by trading wide receiver D.J. Moore, two first-round picks (2023 and 2024) and two second-round picks (2023 and 2025) to the Bears, who then selected former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

If the Falcons make that bold move, they could reunite Williams with wide receiver Drake London, who played at USC and was the team’s first-round pick in 2022.

But, for now, Williams is preparing to go to Chicago.

“I’d say the player and person they’d be getting (is) a person that cares for his teammates,” Williams said. “Some of y’all may have seen, some of y’all may have not, I try to take care of all my guys, no matter if you’re fourth on the depth chart or the star player.”

Williams started his career at Oklahoma in 2021. He transferred to USC when coach Lincoln Riley took the job in Los Angeles.

Williams won the Heisman Trophy for the 2022 season and went 8-5 in 2023.

In his three seasons, Williams completed 735 of 1,099 passes for 10,082 yards, 93 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He finished with a passer rating of 169.3.

“The Bears were a 7-10 team,” Williams said. “That is pretty good for a team that has the first pick. And they (have) a good defense. They (have) good players on offense, and it’s pretty exciting if you can go into a situation like that.”

Chicago has been a graveyard for other quarterbacks taken high in the draft. The franchise still is trying to rebound from taking Mitchell Trubisky second overall ahead of Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft.

If they take Williams, the Bears will move on from Justin Fields, who was taken 11th overall in the 2021 draft. The Falcons also are considering that deal.

“I don’t compare myself to the other guys that are there or have been there,” Williams said. “I think I’m my own player. I tend to like to create history and rewrite history.”

Williams’ last season at USC was slowed by a shaky defense.

“This is one of the seasons that it’s not like any other season I’ve had,” Williams said. “It’s where I’ve been so close to being neutral or close to having a losing record. It was tough for me. … I’m a competitor. I like to win.”

Williams struggled with the losing.

“You grow from something like that,” Williams said. “And Lincoln sat me down, after maybe our loss to Utah, I believe, and he sat me down and said, you either grow from something like this or you keep feeling this feeling, and you’ll stay where you are.”

After a 10-point loss to Washington, Williams was seen crying in his mother’s arms after hopping into the stands.

“There are not many people in the world that get to experience what I experience every game day, every practice day,” Williams said when asked about the crying episode. “So, it kind of goes back to that for me. It’s something that I only get to experience. It’s something that I really care about … which is not only winning the game, but doing it with my teammates. Every time we lose, I feel like I let my teammates down.”

Williams is not doing the medical testing at the combine. He plans to undergo examinations for the teams he visits.

“There is only one of me,” Williams said. “So, the teams that I go to for my visits, those teams will have the medical, and that’s it.”

He’s also not throwing at the combine.

“Didn’t feel the need to go out and throw,” Williams said. “I played around 30-something games (actually 37), I believe. Go ahead and watch real live ball of me and see how I am as a competitor.”

The Falcons interviewed LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye, who are considered the next best options after Williams.

The Falcons also interviewed Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler. Oregon’s Bo Nix is in that group of next-tier quarterbacks, but he wasn’t asked about the Falcons.

Williams is confident that he’ll be the first player taken.

“It’s not a thought in my mind,” Williams said. “I don’t think I’m not going to be No. 1. I put in all the hard work. All of the time, effort, energy into being that. I don’t think of a Plan B. That’s kind of how I do things in my life. I don’t think of a Plan B. Stay on Plan A, and then when things don’t work out, find a way to make Plan A work.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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