Merril Hoge goes viral for his draft opinion on Caleb Williams
Merril Hoge went viral on Friday after he shared his opinion on Caleb Williams and the Chicago Bears.
Hoge, 59, played running back in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1987-1993. He played for the Bears in 1994 before retiring due to concussions issues. Hoge later became an analyst for ESPN and was known for his technical football knowledge and “seal of approval” before being laid off by the network in 2017.
Hoge has recently become best known for his extremely harsh take on Johnny Manziel as a prospect. Hoge was also harsh on Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley as prospects. He was proven correct on all three accounts.
Hoge joined NBC Sports Chicago for an interview from Super Bowl Radio Row and gave his assessment of Williams. So far, he is not a huge fan of Williams.
“I’ve only watched Caleb Williams three games last year, three this year, so I’m only halfway done. The one thing that is clear: he is not special,” Hoge said. “He is not something unique, like a Patrick Mahomes. And I hope the Bears don’t think ‘let’s try to make up for our mistake when we passed up Patrick Mahomes and go get the Patrick Mahomes.’ The kid is not Patrick Mahomes. He ain’t even remotely close to that.”
Hoge also thinks it’s too early for the Bears to give up on current quarterback Justin Fields, especially since they’ve changed coaches on him so many times.
“It is unfair to Justin Fields. He has 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 player — especially a quarterback. … What I have seen from Justin Fields from my evaluation there is enough growth and hope there that I would not let him go,” Hoge said.
Merril Hoge has harsh evaluation of Caleb Williams pic.twitter.com/oIeDg83SOZ
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) February 9, 2024
The Bears made Fields the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 draft. He has passed for 6,674 yards, 40 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his career, while adding 2,220 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. The Bears have gone 16-35 over the past three seasons. They have had two different head coaches and three different offensive coordinators since drafting Fields.
The Bears have the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and the opportunity to select Williams, who is regarded by many as the top quarterback prospect. They can also trade down and draft someone else if they choose. We know what Hoge’s opinion is.