Saturday, February 10, 2024

Analyst Who Predicted Johnny Manziel Disaster Warns Bears About Caleb Williams


Everybody is convinced Caleb Williams is the second coming of Patrick Mahomes. The USC star has put up electric numbers across three years of college football, often delivering some incredible moments with the same type of Houdini acts Mahomes is known for. Most analysts and even many in the NFL think he has superstar potential. However, don’t count Merril Hoge among those people. The former running back spent seven seasons in the NFL and another 21 as an analyst for ESPN. Most of that time was spent covering college football.

Evaluating quarterbacks became something he was pretty good at. By far, his most viral moment came in 2014 when he went against the grain by declaring star Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel a future bust. Not only would taking him in the 1st round be reckless and irresponsible, Hoge said the guy was barely worth a 5th or 6th round pick. That drew a lot of criticism from other analysts and Manziel fans. Three years later, the quarterback was out of the NFL after a string of off-the-field incidents and poor on-the-field performance.

So Hoge isn’t afraid to tell the truth, even if people may not want to hear it.

NBC Sports Chicago caught up with him during Super Bowl media week to discuss the idea of Chicago taking Williams #1 overall. Let’s just say he wasn’t overly enamored with that idea. In his mind, there is nothing special about Williams. If it were Hoge’s call, he’d keep Justin Fields and build the roster around him.

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Caleb Williams isn’t as dangerous as Manziel.

He doesn’t have the off-the-field issues or the terrible decision-making that followed the former A&M quarterback. That already gives him better odds to excel in the NFL. However, it’s worth noting the two share similar skill sets. Manziel became famous in college for his unique blend of mobility, a strong arm, and improvisational instincts. If that sounds familiar, it should. Those are the same traits highlighted about Williams. Manziel also had concerns about his 6’1 height, tendency to hold the ball too long, and minimal experience working under center. Again, all issues that also follow Williams.

The critical difference between the two is mental makeup. Manziel was known for being lazy, a partier, and self-entitled. By all accounts, Caleb Williams has a solid work ethic, doesn’t dabble in too much recreational activity, and acts like just another member of the locker room. Perhaps that will be the main reason he ends up succeeding where Manziel failed. Still, it’s hard to ignore Hoge’s warning. He doesn’t seem impressed with the USC standout. If it were him, he’d consider alternatives.


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Feb 10, 2024 8:36 pm

Hoge is a clown, plain and simple. He’s watched Williams 3 times on Tape … not to say he’s wrong I HAVE NO IDEA … but I’ll admit it, he never will.

Ralph Law
Ralph Law
Feb 10, 2024 3:34 pm

Hoge always was spot on. CW will not be the NFL player his organized hype is promoting.

Feb 10, 2024 12:58 pm

As I see it KC has a much better roster for Mahomes to work with. Always has had top play makers to flip the ball to. Almost any QB could thro to Kelsey running wide open in the end zone. Get a roster full of play makers then the QB situation will work itself out. If Fields had 2 DJs to throw to it could be quite the show. Poles is building the team first. Then a QB. Just like KC did. They have long term success because the roster was built when the QB arrived.

Feb 10, 2024 10:27 am

My eyes say we need an upgrade at QB.

Feb 10, 2024 6:37 am

He MIGHT turn out to be great but at our stage take the draft haul and as many top draft picks we can accumulate by trading down. It’s a no brainer.

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