Things started getting interesting when the Washington Commanders pulled a surprise, hiring USC quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury as their new offensive coordinator. People began to wonder if this was the beginning step in a plan by their top brass to go after Caleb Williams in the draft. It wasn’t hard to connect the dots. Williams is a D.C. native. New owner Josh Harris has a reputation for targeting players with east coast roots. Minority owner Magic Johnson has deep connections in L.A. All the signs are there.
Dan Graziano of ESPN looked into the situation. From what he’s gathered, two things are apparent. The Kingsbury hire wasn’t solely made for Williams. They believe he is capable of coaching the other top guys like Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels. However, it was also confirmed that their interest in Williams is very real. Enough to where they are more than willing to consider trading up to get him.
The only thing holding them back is whether the Chicago Bears open the door.
I have been cautioned by multiple people not to jump to conclusions about the Commanders’ hire of former USC quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury as it pertains to the Commanders’ interest in USC quarterback Caleb Williams. Yes, there are those in the Commanders organization who are fascinated with the idea of drafting D.C. native Williams, even if that means trading up from No. 2 to No. 1 to get him. But they also recognize that if the Bears are set on taking Williams at No. 1, there might be nothing they can do about that.
The sources I’ve talked to point out that North Carolina’s Drake Maye played in Phil Longo’s offensive system in 2022, which is a version of the Air Raid that Kingsbury knows how to coach. They also point out that LSU’s Jayden Daniels is a mobile quarterback and talented downfield thrower who could mesh well with Kingsbury, who has coached Kyler Murray and Mahomes. I would expect the Commanders to look into what it would take to draft Williams, but I’d caution against thinking they hired Kingsbury based on any belief or certainty that they were going to get him.
Ryan Poles’ evaluation of Caleb Williams will determine everything.
If he feels the USC standout is the best QB in this class and nobody else is close, then nothing Washington does matters. Chicago will stay put at #1 and take him. However, if they think Maye and Daniels are close to the same level, then swapping places with the Commanders in exchange for a significant package of draft picks might sound appealing. Nobody has a firm grasp on the pecking order of this class. Some think Williams is the best option by a significant margin. Others think Maye is the better, more NFL-capable prospect. Daniels is gaining some steam thanks to his Heisman-winning season.
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Caleb Williams also may try to control how this goes. If he is against the idea of coming to Chicago, as some rumors have suggested, he could try to discourage the Bears from drafting him by tanking drills or avoiding meetings. Most don’t believe that is true, but it is something to consider. One can safely assume Washington will place phone calls to Halas Hall in the near future if they haven’t already. Other teams are bound to do the same. Poles has all the cards. What he does with them will be the story of the next three months.