June 16, 2024

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Evaluation of Caleb Williams via Tom Brady, Lens by Drew Brees – NBC Sports Chicago

Evaluation of Caleb Williams via Tom Brady, Lens by Drew Brees – NBC Sports Chicago

CHICAGO – Over the course of the summer, we’ll be exposed to highlights from Caleb Williams completing passes to Keenan Allen, DJ Moore, and Roma Udunze. There will be deep shots, throws into small gaps, and drop-offs. The hype will be off the charts as fans try to show how great Williams will be in the NFL.

One former NFL player believes there are ways to judge how great Williams is right now. Clay Harbor spent nearly eight seasons in the league, catching passes from the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Matt Stafford. He has seen what it takes to be the best, and he recently joined us An episode of the “Under the Center” podcast. To reveal what he will be looking for to determine whether or not Williams can join their ranks.

“The first thing I want to see is, what are his habits?” Harbor said. “Does he show up early? Is he the guy who’s going to stay late and shoot? Is he going to get out of the building before the others or are you going to stay there until everyone’s gone?”

Harbor said it’s easy to pick up those habits right away, sometimes as early as rookie minicamp. It’s not difficult to distinguish between players who get on the field because they love football, or are dedicated to being the best they can be, compared to players who get on the field because they are looking for a paycheck.

To illustrate his point, Harbor shared the story of his first OTA with the Patriots in 2016.

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“Tom Brady is in the front row. He’s been involved with this offense for 16 years…but Tom Brady is right there in the front row taking notes on every play in the primary installation. These are normal things. How many times has he been there? I go: What is he doing? Does he draw stick figures? He knows that better than the coaches, and in his 16th year on offense, he’s taking notes.

When describing Harbor Press, he used the word “meticulous” several times. Brees’ tough nature sets him apart from other QBs he has played alongside.

“I came back from catching the ball and put it on the ground,” Harbor recalled from some volunteer work with Brees in 2017. “He said, ‘Clay, don’t put the ball on the ground. I don’t like to bend over more than I have to. I said, “Okay,” so next time I waited until he could catch the ball, so he wouldn’t have to bend down to catch the ball. That’s how accurate these quarterbacks are.

Harbor also recalled Brees’ exceptional generosity in offseason workouts.

“He bought my flight, first class, both ways. He puts me in a five-star hotel. He picked us up every morning at 6 a.m. on the dot. He took us out to his field in California. If the routes were listed on a piece of paper, exactly how we would go on them, the movements, everything So we could go through all the routes and then he took us to his training facility and paid for our massages and paid for our food for dinner.

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“You can see the things that make these great players, great players.”

By all accounts, Williams has those traits. We have heard from many coaches and former teammates that Williams has an incredible drive to develop into an elite quarterback. He uttered goals to surpass Brady’s record for most Super Bowl victories. Williams is known to be another meticulous planner, setting clear goals and laying out a detailed blueprint on how to achieve those goals. He’s also committed to learning as much as he can about quarterback play, whether it’s from coaches, teammates or others. Williams knows he doesn’t have all the answers right now.

“To be a great leader, you have to learn how to follow through first,” Williams said at the rookie minicamp. “So now I’m following all the vets, I’m following all the coaches. I’m listening, my ears are open and my mouth is closed.”

“That’s one of the reasons I think Caleb will be successful,” Harbor said. “Because of his personality. He’s not the guy who says, ‘I’m the No. 1 pick, I know this stuff, I’m the guy.’

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.