Recency bias affects all kinds of decisions in life, and NFL drafts are no different. Just because you’re thought to be the drop-dead No. 1 prospect in a future draft when an NCAA season begins doesn’t mean you’ll stay there.
So it is in this particular mock draft with USC’s Caleb Williams, whose last two games has to have NFL evaluators shaking their heads and wondering just what’s going on down in Southern California.
In the first six weeks of USC’s 2023 season, Williams completed 120 of 168 passes for 1,836 yards, 22 touchdowns, one interception, and a passer rating of 144.2. In his last two games, Williams completed 47 of 72 passes for 455 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 70.1. This isn’t all Williams’ fault — protection and scheme have also been issues — but when you have a situation in which there’s another quarterback knocking on Williams’ door for that No. 1 spot, it can complicate the conversation.
In this case, that guy complicating the conversation is North Carolina’s Drake Maye. Maye has completed 160 of 270 passes this season for 2,249 yards, 14 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a passer rating of 102.5. While he does not possess Williams’ mind-bending skill set, and while a strong finish to the season should propel Williams back up to the top… well, right now, I’d bet there are quite a few NFL personnel people who are torn.
As for Williams? Well, his landing spot would certainly start all kinds of other conversations regarding the professional future of one Russell Carrington Wilson.
Here’s the rest of out first-round projections for this particular 2024 NFL mock draft.