Ex-NFL star against rookie QBs being thrown ‘into the fire’ as Caleb Williams likely to go No 1 to Bears

The Chicago Bears made the move to trade Justin Fields earlier in the offseason, which signaled they were likely going to take Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Former NFL star Shawne Merriman appeared on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” on Monday and said he didn’t agree with trading Fields, who was dealt to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He said the Bears should have given Williams some time before being thrown “into the fire.”

Caleb Williams vs UCLA

USC quarterback Caleb Williams looks to pass during the first half of the game against UCLA on Nov. 18, 2023 in Los Angeles. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“Give Caleb Williams some time. I’m so against throwing young quarterbacks into the fire,” Merriman said. “… You want them to leave college and get on the field, throw them to the fire and let them learn on the run. It just doesn’t always happen that way. 

“Yeah, you got your Joe Burrows of the world and some of these guys will be getting that play right away, but look at the quarterbacks who have a lot of success right now. They didn’t get on the field early on. Patrick Mahomes, he sat practically for almost a whole year.


Caleb Williams vs Washington

Caleb Williams (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/File)

“I believe in giving a guy at least four to six games to try to figure it out. Throwing him on the field on day 1 and saying, ‘Let’s go, make this thing happen, turn the organization around,’ in my opinion, long term, it’s just not smart for your organization.”

The former USC Trojans standout is likely to be the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft.

He won the Heisman Trophy in 2022 when he threw for 4,537 passing yards and 42 touchdown passes. Last season, Williams had 3,633 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes.

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