Chicago Bears: Merril Hoge has some harsh, honest assessment of Caleb Williams

Former NFL player and analyst Merril Hoge spoke about possible Chicago Bears draft target Caleb Williams and did not hold back in his assessment.

UCLA v USC / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

For the Chicago Bears, the Caleb Williams situation continues to garner attention. The longer it takes before general manager Ryan Poles makes his decision official, the more the speculation and opinions will grow. Just wait until the Super Bowl is finished this Sunday. All eyes will be on the Bears and Poles.

The issue is so big that it created factions among Chicago Bears fans, Team Fields for current starter Justin Fields and Team Williams. It has gotten to near Civil War status. Each side is squarely entrenched with their guy and daggers are thrown at each side.

The national media is certainly interested in what Poles and the Bears decide. Poles' decision won't affect just the Bears. It will have ramifications throughout the league. There are plenty of teams who would trade a heavy load of assets for a chance to draft Williams. On the other hand, there are also plenty who will trade for Fields.

Potential Chicago Bears draft target Caleb Williams draws comparisons to Patrick Mahomes. NFL analyst Merril Hoge gave his assessment and he did not hold back in his criticisms.

The feeling among most of the media is that Poles will forego the treasure trove of picks for the top pick of the draft and use it on Williams. Williams draws comparisons to Patrick Mahomes. His hype is super high.

While many media members are falling all over themselves in their fawning over Williams, there are some who disagree. They don't see Williams as a generational talent. A former NFL scout didn't even give him a first-round grade.

Now comes former NFL player and NFL analyst Merril Hoge gave his opinion on the matter. Hoge played seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers and one for the Chicago Bears. He was recently asked about the Williams hype and what the Bears should do with the pick.

Hoge had a harsh assessment of Williams and gave the unpopular opinion.

"The one thing that is clear: He is not special. I hope the Bears don’t think, ‘Let’s try to make up for our mistake. This is not Patrick Mahomes; ain’t even remotely close to that."

Merril Hoge

Hoge gave his support to Fields. He said that dealing with multiple offensive coordinators was unfair to him.

"It is unfair to Justin Fields. He’s had new coordinator, new coordinator, new coordinator. There is no possible way you can know about your guy when you do that. It’s the worst thing that can happen to any place, especially a quarterback."

Merril Hoge

Fields started his career with Matt Nagy. Nagy was fighting for his career and did not want to start the rookie. In his last two seasons, he was under Luke Getsy. Getsy tried to convert Fields into a quarterback Fields is not. He tried to take FIelds' legs away and turn him into a purely pocket passer.

In addition to that, in Poles' first year as general manager in 2022 he tore down the roster, shedding the roster of bloated contracts. He then signed players who were other teams' castoffs. While that gave Poles the flexibility to have a huge salary cap space and, ultimately, the #1 pick in the 2023 draft, it was hell for Fields. He had a lack of talented receivers and his offensive line was porous.

Dealing with all that, how can a team accurately assess Fields' play? Hoge was absolutely correct with what he said about Fields.

In terms of his assessment of Williams, we can look at what the prospect did in 2023. He threw 30 touchdown passes, but 15 of them, or half, came against three teams -- San Jose State, Nevada, and Colorado. Those three teams had a combined 13-24 record in 2023.

Additionally, once the USC Trojans started losing games and it was clear they would not win the Pac-12, Williams' behavior changed. After a loss he ran into the stands and into his mother's arms and cried. During press conferences he was separated and aloof. Finally. when the media asked him about it, he said he was not used to being on a 7-5 team. If that was the case, how will he react when he is on a losing team?


This is a franchise-altering decision for Poles. He can either usher in a new era of winning Chicago Bears football or it can be more of the same losing and cost him his job. The NFL world is waiting with bated breath what he decides.