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Former NFL Player Says Caleb Williams is 'Not Special'

Colin Cowherd: “What was one of the first things you saw, and you went ‘PUMP THE BRAKES!’ 

Merril Hoge: “The word ‘special’ is different for everybody. The reason I say he’s ‘not special’ is he’s not special in where you must be special. He’s extremely elusive and his accuracy is elite – and that right there puts him above everybody else and gives him the edge. Now let’s go to the hurdles... He doesn’t function well from the pocket like he’s going to have to in the National Football League. He’s a guy who is 6’1”. When you look at a ‘dirty’ pocket, when you look at a ‘clean’ pocket, and you look at the different plays that he gives up where he should be throwing the football but he goes and makes a play by running around... You're just not going to survive in the National Football League doing that. THAT is his biggest hurdle. Being able to manage the gift that he has which he is extremely elusive, and I think that’s a value, but it could be the thing that holds him back from being able to be successful in the National Football League because he’ll leave plays on the field that shouldn’t be left there, and he’s going to have to learn how to manage that. People compare him to Patrick Mahomes, but Patrick Mahomes sat a year. He had some of the best coaching in the history of the National Football League. 
People always ask ‘what makes Tom Brady the greatest in the history of the game?’ One reason – he executes the play. If you tell him he’s gotta give you six check-downs, he’ll give you six check-downs in a row. And guess what? The second you make a mistake on it, then he’s going to go over the top. He’s not going to hold the ball. He’s always moving the chains. From a pocket presence perspective, Caleb Williams is not special. His accuracy is elite, and he’s as elusive as Barry Sanders in some scenarios, and more than Patrick Mahomes... That doesn’t make him better than Patrick Mahomes. That’s a gift, but that also might be the thing that hinders him more than anything – is him learning to manage that and go to it later. I don’t expect him to do this right off the bat, that’s going to be a development thing.”

Watch Former NFL running back and ex-ESPN analyst Merril Hoge join The Herd with Colin Cowherd to explain why he doesn’t think Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is ‘special.’ 

Williams, who is number one on virtually every mock draft board, is expected to go no. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears in April’s 2024 NFL Draft, but Hoge has his doubts on Williams being able to excel as a pocket passer when the 6’1” junior made the majority of his plays abandoning the pocket and making plays outside the tackles – a feat that is much more difficult to execute against NFL defenses. 

Check out the segment above as Hoge details his concerns on Williams despite the USC star's boastful billing.

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