The NFL Draft is an exciting time for football fans and teams alike, as they eagerly await the selection of the next generation of talent. In 2024, one name that has been generating a lot of buzz is Caleb Williams. Widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the draft, Williams has divided opinions among experts and analysts. Williams is currently listed as the first overall pick at sportsbooks worldwide with odds as high as -500 to go #1 overall. But, I’ll look at some of the reasons why Caleb Williams may not be the ideal choice for the top selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, including other top quarterback prospects.
Caleb Williams burst onto the scene as a highly-touted prospect, catching the attention of scouts and football enthusiasts alike. After starting his collegiate career at Oklahoma in 2021, Williams made the decision to follow his former coach, Lincoln Riley, to USC in 2022.
Arm Talent and Versatility
One of the standout features of Caleb Williams’ game is his arm talent. He can make all the necessary throws with precision and accuracy, whether it’s a deep bomb or a quick slant. His ability to throw from various arm angles and platforms adds versatility to his game and allows him to make plays in challenging situations.
Mobility and Playmaking Ability
Williams’ athleticism and mobility are assets that set him apart from other quarterbacks in his class. He can extend plays with his legs, evade defenders in the pocket, and make accurate throws on the run. This playmaking ability adds another dimension to his game and keeps defenses on their toes. He also scored 21 times in his two seasons at USC, showing off his big-play ability and had 10 games where he wass responsible for five or more touchdowns.
Another strength of Williams is his ability to process information quickly and make split-second decisions. He shows good awareness of the field and can identify open receivers in tight windows. This skill is crucial for success in the NFL, where defenses are faster and more complex.
While Caleb Williams possesses many strengths, there are also areas of concern that need to be addressed.
Holding onto the Ball Too Long
One of the major criticisms of Williams is his tendency to hold onto the ball too long, resulting in unnecessary sacks and fumbles. This issue can be attributed to his confidence in his ability to make plays, but it also highlights the need for better decision-making and a quicker release at the next level.
Williams’ fumble numbers are alarming, especially during the 2023 season, where he put the ball on the ground 16 times. This lack of ball security raises questions about his ability to protect the football and could be a significant liability in the NFL.
Analyzing The Stats
To evaluate whether Caleb Williams should be the #1 overall pick, look no further than his performance on the field. Let’s take a closer look at his statistics from the past three seasons:
- 2021: 136 completions out of 211 attempts (64.5% completion rate), 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns, 4 interceptions (11 games)
- 2022: 333 completions out of 500 attempts (66.6% completion rate), 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns, 5 interceptions (14 games)
- 2023: 266 completions out of 388 attempts (68.6% completion rate), 3,633 yards, 30 touchdowns, 5 interceptions (12 games)
- 2021: 45 carries, 559 yards (8.7 yards per carry), 6 touchdowns, 11 fumbles
- 2022: 58 carries, 624 yards (6.6 yards per carry), 10 touchdowns, 6 fumbles
- 2023: 50 carries, 356 yards (4.8 yards per carry), 11 touchdowns, 16 fumbles
These numbers paint a picture of a player with impressive passing abilities and the ability to make plays with his legs. However, his fumble numbers raise concerns about ball security, which could be a significant issue at the next level.
Other Top Quarterback Prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft
Jayden Daniels (LSU), Bo Nix (Oregon), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) and Michael Penix, Jr. (Washington) all have higher a QBR using ESPN’s ratings system. In addition, Drake Maye, out of North Carolina, has seen his stock rise and is a top pick in many pundit’s eyes.
Drake Maye (+500)
Maye is currently the second pick on the 2024 NFL Draft odds board for one good reason – he possesses ideal NFL arm talent. He can hit just about any throw, but like Williams he turns the ball over, with 16 interceptions in the last two seasons. He’s also only played two full seasons at the collegiate level and has struggled against quality defenses.
Jayden Daniels (+1400)
Daniels is a prototype dual-threat quarterback who amassed huge yardage over four years at LSU. He played better under pressure in 2023 while achieving career-high levels in passing yards (3812) and TDs (40) on his way to becoming last year’s Heisman Trophy winner. Plus he takes care of the ball, with just 20 INTs in 55 career D1 starts.
J.J McCarthy (+3300)
McCarthy has the ability to succeed at the NFL level and the #3 QBR at ESPN, but really only played two years as a starter at Michigan. Yes, he took the Wolverines to the top of the mountain this season, but draft pundits have pushed him into the second round a nd thus the huge odds.
Michael Penix, Jr. (+3300)
Penix put up a fight in the National Championship game, but the Huskies came up short. Had Washington grabbed the NCAA title, Penix’ stock may be higher. Let’s just say, he can really fire the ball and find receivers with nearly 5000 yards passing in 2023. But he had four season-ending knee injuries at Indiana before transferring in 2022. In the age of the mobile QB, Penix is the least mobile of the top quarterbacks and struggled as the pocket collapsed around him.
While Caleb Williams has the potential to develop into a successful NFL quarterback, there are other prospects in the draft who may offer more immediate impact and a higher level of readiness for the professional game. Ultimately, the decision lies in the hands of the Chicago Bears, who hold the #1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. NFL teams carefully evaluate all the factors and the Bears may choose to keep former first-rounder Justin Fields. If that happens, look for a wild Day One in this year’s draft.