National Football League
Should Caleb Williams sit his first year in the NFL?
National Football League

Should Caleb Williams sit his first year in the NFL?

Updated Mar. 7, 2024 10:41 a.m. ET

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf had "First Things First" co-hosts Nick Wright and Chris Broussard debating on Wednesday about whether soon-to-be rookie QB Caleb Williams should sit his first season in the league. 

Leaf made an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday, and stated he doesn't feel the former USC QB is a starter this year and thinks he could benefit from sitting.

"You've got to be of the understanding that you're going to sit him this year," Leaf said. "He can't do what he did in college 75% of the time and be successful at the NFL level," Leaf continued. " He can do the 25% part at the NFL level, but he needs some time." 

Ryan Leaf sounds off on Caleb Williams: "I don’t think he’s a starting QB this year" | First Things First

The Chicago Bears have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and Williams is projected as their potential pick. If he sits his first year, he would likely do so behind 25-year-old Justin Fields.


Broussard had mixed feelings about the idea of Williams sitting out behind the third-year QB, citing other successful rookie QBs who have sat out, but did so to learn from proven veterans. 

"I generally like when rookie quarterbacks sit the first year," Broussard said. I" mean, it's not for everybody like C.J. Stroud didn't need to do it, but I do wish more teams would at least make that an option. Just because I drafted a guy, No. 1 or No. 2 … doesn't mean I'm throwing him right in the stuff.

"Jordan Love … he looks like he's probably going to be a star … he sat. Aaron Rodgers. Mahomes didn't start his first year. Lamar started [by] coming off the bench initially. If he (Williams) sits in Chicago, is he really going to learn anything?"

Wright, meanwhile, believes Williams could benefit from a year of learning from Fields and the Bears staff, but also thinks his sitting would put him in a less-pressure situation when he does eventually play.

"I actually don't hate this idea for any of the parties," Wright said. "If the latest reports are right — which is they maybe only be looking at getting a third round pick for Justin Fields — I don't hate the idea of the Bears drafting Caleb and saying, ‘hey, you're sitting in the beginning. Because this goes to somewhat of the pressure that we talked about the other day.

"Those fans in Chicago right now – a lot of them want Justin. And, so if you sit behind Justin, and he struggles mightily, then they're happy when you come in. If you sit behind Justin, and he plays decent and the Bears all of a sudden get a much better draft pick in return, and you take over, then it's better for all parties." 

The first round of the NFL draft will take place on April 25.

[Want great stories delivered right to your inbox? Create or log in to your FOX Sports account, follow leagues, teams and players to receive a personalized newsletter daily.]

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience
National Football League
Caleb Williams

Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more