Once the overwhelming favorite to the number one overall pick in next April’s NFL draft, the USC quarterback and defending Heisman Trophy winner has begun to earn some doubters. Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz and senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson discuss the talk that has been circulating among teams across the league. Hear the full conversation on “Inside Coverage” - part of the “Zero Blitz” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.
JASON FITZ: The Caleb Williams, Drake Maye thing is interesting to me, CRob, and I know you're writing on this right now. But frankly, it wasn't that long ago that Caleb Williams was supposed to be so good that he was going to force teams not to draft him. And now I'm hearing multiple smart people tell me Drake Maye might go first.
So what are you hearing on the quarterback situation that we're all obsessing about if our teams suck?
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, I don't think it's the automatic hammerlock that it felt like before the season. And what you're hearing more about Caleb Williams now that is concerning teams is how much he is operating in sort of an unscripted manner on offense. He's running around. His feet aren't always set the way that they should be. There's a Johnny Manziel-esque quality to it when he was at A&M, where Johnny, a lot of the time it looked like the offense was just Johnny trying to make a play, make something big happen.
I think teams are starting to see some of that with Caleb Williams, especially in this last season, and they're going to nitpick at that. They're going to say, we need you to-- that's great that you can make plays. That's awesome. We love that quality. But we also need to know that you can sit inside a structured offense and go through your reads and just play quarterback. Right? Play quarterback, don't play playmaker.
Then with Drake Maye, I think it's the opposite. Like, he can do that, and he has shown the ability to do that and do the off-script stuff. But he very much is playing traditional quarterback.