It’s been a cool couple of weeks since the NFL draft. With rookies all around the league getting their first taste of life in the pros, the talk has officially diverted away into a new plethora of topics. Sticking with draft and prospect conversations though, the buzz is already revolving around who could be the next big player headlining next year’s draft class.
If you haven’t heard of USC’s star QB Caleb Williams, let me be the one to introduce you to the NFL’s potential next “big thing.” After transferring to the Trojans from Oklahoma to continue playing under coach Lincoln Riley, Williams has seen his college career take off to the highest level, leading him to win last season’s Heisman Trophy, even with USC not being a part of the CFP.
With a 66.6% completion percentage, 4,537 passing yards, 42 touchdowns to five interceptions, and a QB rating of 168.5 I dare you to show me any other QB in college football playing at his level. Even in USC’s loss to Tulane in last season’s Cotton Bowl, Williams still managed to pass for 462 yards and five touchdowns, with one interception.
Now that you have a slight idea of who Williams is, let’s break down what’s next for USC’s star, both in college football and once he moves on to the pros.
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Don’t Compare Williams To Anybody
Over the past weeks, a couple of NFL coaches have gone on record to state that Williams’ style of play and demeanor on the field can be compared to Patrick Mahomes. Yes, the two-time Super Bowl Champion, two-time SB and NFL MVP, five-time pro bowler, and overall best passer in the league Mahomes.
But in all fairness, what’s with the need to compare? Haven’t we learned enough from failed evaluations? It wasn’t long ago when Josh Rosen, yes, I know, who? Was being compared to Eli Manning, and look how that panned out. Jarrett Stidham was seen by some as a new version of Andrew Luck. Needless to say, I would take Luck with 20 years of retirement over Stidham in his prime any day.
Comparisons do players no good. The best way to assess a prospect is to see him do his thing, and that’s something where Williams has thrived. Funnily enough, when the comparisons with Mahomes first started popping out, it was Williams himself who said: “I always said even in high school that I don’t think there’s anything—obviously, he’s special, but I don’t think there’s anything that I can’t do that he’s doing out there.”
If you look back at Mahomes’ playing days in college, he was nowhere close to what Williams has shown at Oklahoma, and especially USC. Simply put, if you end up seeing the Trojans in the CFP semis this year, it will most likely be because of Williams and his performances during the season.
Even if the idea of Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t necessarily ring a promising bell to me (just remember what happened the last time Kingsbury worked with a former Sooners QB), the upside for Williams’ last year with the Trojans is too big to ignore. In the best of cases, Kingsbury will add a couple of extra tools for Williams’ game to fully develop for what’s to come. If not, hopefully, the former Arizona Cardinals coach stays in his lane, cashes the millions he’ll be set to make, and lets Williams do his thing.
Take A Look At These Other 2 NCAAF Special Articles
- 5 Players Who Could Rival Caleb Williams for the Heisman Trophy
- Heisman Trophy: What Are the Odds of Williams Repeating?
Is It Worth It to Tank for Williams?
I’ve never been a fan of that “tanking for someone” mentality. In a sport where competition is just as valued as talent, the idea of throwing away a season’s worth of work to try and land the top prospect in the draft is dumbfounding. That still hasn’t stopped fans to start campaigning for their respective teams to tank the season in the hopes of landing Williams.
But again, where’s the respect for the game in all of this? If nobody is going to give two hoots about it, then screw it, let me join the fray too.
The QB carousel in the league is continuously moving toward teams looking for a specific style of passer. While before, the best move always involved having a passer with a cannon for an arm, and built for endurance instead of mobility, times have changed.
Williams will be entering the pros in an era where players like Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Joe Burrow are the new normal. Dual-threat passers have become the new premier in the league, meaning that USC’s passer would not only fit right in but be able to cause an immediate impact, depending on which team he ends up landing in.
So, which squad would be the best fit for Williams?
Which Teams Would Benefit Most from Landing Williams?
Even with the start of the season still weeks away, a variable list of NFL teams all looking like top candidates to welcome Williams come next season is already starting to bloom. And again, you’ll never see me backing any team to tank for a player. But that doesn’t mean that when looked at from a competitive scope and talent point of view some teams look closer to picking Williams than seeing him take off somewhere else.
Take the Cardinals for example. If this season doesn’t pan out the way they’re expecting and Murray can’t return to the level needed from him by the team, the reasons for Arizona to ship their passer away and try to land Williams are not to be ignored. Financially, it would be a kamikaze mission for the Cardinals, but again, William’s potential upside is too good to not at least think of the possibility.
If not the Cardinals, how about the Lions, Broncos, Dolphins, and even Patriots? They all have QBs that could be dispatched if the chance to land Williams is in sight. And having Williams in their squads would automatically make them contenders not only within their divisions but in their conferences.
Last but not least, if we’re going to go balls to the wall crazy, then hear me out here for a second. If the Titans end up picking first in next year’s draft, forget about Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Will Levis, and anybody else. If Williams goes to Tennessee, that team will automatically become an AFC title contender.
You know it, I know it, the league knows it. The only question is, do the Titans know it?