2024 NFL draft prospect: USC QB Caleb Williams
Welcome to SKOL Search!
This series will be your guide to the 2024 draft class. From scouting reports to mock drafts and exploring different scenarios, we will be covering the NFL draft and the future of the Minnesota Vikings from all angles.
We are getting a head start this year by looking at the talent projected to be available in the upcoming 2024 NFL draft. Why start in the summer? It’s a good way to see how the players grow from year-to-year and we will be looking at players from a Vikings perspective.
Right now, the Vikings will have seven draft picks in the 2024 NFL draft.
4th round (via Lions)
5th round (via Chiefs)
5th round (via Browns)
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Class: True Junior
247Sports Recruiting Rank: Five-star (99.69 rating)
2022 Heisman Trophy winner
Transfer from Oklahoma (followed head coach Lincoln Riley)
Passing: 66.6% completion (333/500), 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Rushing: 113 attempts, 382 yards, 10 touchdowns
Games watched: 2022 Utah, 2022 Oregon State, 2022 Stanford
What does he do well?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
It’s hard to count out the Heisman Trophy winner, especially when they showcase some of Caleb Williams’s skills.
From the first snap, Williams’ arm talent stands out. He has an electric arm that can push the ball down the field with relative ease, and there isn’t a throw he can’t make on his own.
On the first play against Utah, Williams delivered a 42-yard rope to a wide receiver on the sideline with acceptable accuracy. Although the pass was ruled incomplete, it’s a throw that NFL scouts will likely fawn over during the process.
Williams pairs his arm strength with solid accuracy, which maximizes the yards after the catch opportunity for the receivers.
Williams’ best trait might be his mind, though.
Williams pairs his physical traits with an ability to move safeties with his eyes, opening up plays over the middle of the field. His ability to process information makes him a threat in the RPO game, where Williams shined under Riley.
It’s important to note that Williams is also a strong athlete and can create yards for himself. Against Utah, Williams broke off a few long runs where defenders took poor angles in attempting to stop him.
Where does he need improvement?
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Although Williams has all the traits of an elite quarterback, some things still need significant refinement.
The biggest is his tendency to try and make the “hero play” when a better option is available. There were times when Williams left yards on the table, opting to try and make an explosive play happen instead.
Those plays tend to work in college, but most quarterbacks can’t find the same success in the NFL. To be blunt, not every quarterback is Patrick Mahomes, and expecting them to make the plays that he can is asking for failure.
Williams could also do with some improvement in his lower-body mechanics. His footwork struggled at times, and passes were thrown slightly off-target. It’s not a pressing issue, and it can be cleaned up with more experience, but it is something to keep an eye on this season.
How does he fit with the Vikings?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Caleb Williams has drawn lofty expectations during the pre-draft process. Some have likened him to “the next Andrew Luck,” while others have compared him to Patrick Mahomes.
Williams certainly has the traits to be a transcendent talent, but he isn’t there yet and will need more seasoning when he enters the league.
The good news for the NFL team that lands him, including the Vikings, is that his skillset will make that transition easier. Williams can enter the NFL as one of the league’s best quarterbacks, opening up a clear Super Bowl window for his team.
While the Vikings would need a lot to go wrong to pick at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft, Williams’s talent would pair nicely with the receiving core that the Vikings have.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell could use Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson’s route running in the RPO game. Williams could use T.J. Hockenson to attack the seams with his processing ability.
Where does he project to go?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
By all accounts, Williams will be the first quarterback selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.
While there’s a possibility that a team falls in love with another quarterback, like North Carolina’s Drake Maye, most teams will likely be lining up to get the chance to select Williams.
Williams needs some refinement, but a third season in Lincoln Riley’s quarterback-friendly system could help him take that next step.
Projection: Top 3, likely 1st overall
The Real Forno Show