Takeaways From NFL Combine with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, more
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Takeaways From NFL Combine with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, more

by - Correspondent -

So far, the 2024 NFL Combine is shaping out to be quite interesting for a multitude of reasons. Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr from Ohio State skipped his press conference on Friday, USC quarterback Caleb Williams did not get a medical examination in Indianapolis and Washington’s Rome Odunze stole the show not with his performance but with his self-awareness.

Starting with the receivers, Harrison Jr’s feelings about potentially becoming a Chicago Bear are a total unknown given he did not speak to the media. Odunze did not get asked specifically about the Bears, but did show a level of self-awareness, humility and humor that is becoming harder to find in college football with egos appearing to dominate that landscape now too, potentially because of the prevalence of NIL deals.

Odunze was asked by a reporter, “Do you think you could land a plane in case of an emergency?”

Immediately, his response was “Absolutely not. We are going down. All soles have perished,” giving the media quite the laugh.

It also caused a social media stir, with some Bears fans taking to social media to argue that he should be the top receiver in this draft, particularly given Harrison Jr. did not even show up to his media availability.

Going to the quarterbacks, each of them did speak to the media and briefing discussed the possibility of going to the Chicago Bears. Williams, who was speculated to not want to go to the Bears, gave a bit of a bland response compared to other quarterbacks.

“I mean the Bears are, what is it, an 8-9 team last year, I believe, 7-10, I'm sorry, and that’s pretty good for the team that has (the) first pick,” he said. “And they've got a good defense, they've got good players on offense. And it's pretty exciting if you can go into a situation like that.”

Williams compared himself to Aaron Rodgers in height and weight, but personally, I fear he may have more in common with Rodgers than that. During former teammate Brendan Rice’s media availability, he interrupted the press conference to ask him how it feels to be Jerry Rice’s son. Naturally, this shifted the attention from the third-round prospect to the No. 1 overall prospect.

LSU’s Jayden Daniels nor North Carolina’s Drake Maye interrupted the media availability of their players.

Daniels, in fact, appeared more humble when speaking with the media. When asked about not participating at the Combine, he explained that he wanted to give his teammates the opportunity to work out in front of everyone at LSU’s Pro Day and ensure it was not about him but instead about his teammates.

When asked about how his meeting with the Bears went, he seemed grateful for the opportunity to talk with the coaches.

“From them it’s just being able to go out there and really just envision myself if I do get drafted to Chicago,” Daniels said. “All the interview is really just about talking ball, you don’t really get to talk ball with NFL coaches too often so growing up, you want to get to this point and it’s finally real so it’s a surreal moment for me.”

Since the start of the offseason, Daniels has been getting more hype and attention from the media and scouts, causing him to surpass North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye in some power rankings. However, Maye is still a top-tier quarterback that will surely go in the top-five. The 2022 ACC Player of the Year is a bit more shy but certainly conveyed interest in playing for Chicago.

“Great sports town. Chicago is about as good as it gets. I don’t think they knew much about me,” Maye said. “(I) was telling them about who I am.”

There are a few things to be gleaned from this comment. First, Maye definitely has an interest in playing for the Bears. Chicago has drafted a first-round quarterback from North Carolina before, back when they drafted Mitch Trubisky No. 2 overall in 2017; that did not end well, and Trubisky is currently not on an NFL roster after getting let go by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The second thing that can be gleaned from his comment is that perhaps the Bears are not showing him the same level of interest as other quarterbacks given Maye’s comment that he didn’t think “they knew much about (him).”

Especially with Chicago in their information-gathering phase, if they were genuinely interested in pursuing Maye, it would seem like they would be gathering information about him and know more about him. However, it seems Maye did not get that impression. So, it would seem Chicago is between Williams and Daniels for their quarterback of the future as it seems imminent that Fields will get traded.

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