Despite being widely regarded as the consensus first-overall pick in the upcoming draft, there’s a chance that Caleb Williams could return to college football. The quarterback is wary of his career on the professional stage and wants to make the right decision.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is widely regarded as a generational talent, and many NFL franchises will love to have him on their roster. He’s once again a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and could achieve the rare honor of winning the award twice.
It remains uncertain whether Williams will declare for the 2024 NFL Draft. However, the USC quarterback ranks as one of the highest-earning student-athletes in the world of college sports. That could make him take his time in deciding when to move to the NFL.
Caleb Williams’ father, Carl, said in early September that his son might opt not to enter the 2024 NFL Draft if the landing spot is not suitable. He underscored concerns about the draft system, where the first overall pick often goes to the worst-performing team.
“The funky thing about the NFL draft process is, he’d almost be better off not being drafted than being drafted first,” Carl said.
“The system is completely backward. The way the system is constructed, you go to the worst possible situation. The worst possible team, the worst organization in the league—because of their desire for parity—gets the first pick.”
Carl Williams also went on to emphasize how the draft system has impacted the careers of top players in college football, citing the examples of Archie Manning, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield. Evidently, he and his son are looking to avoid this trap in 2024.
Trading up for Caleb Williams
The likely scenario for Caleb Williams to enter the draft in 2024 is seeing a couple of ambitious franchises trading up the draft to pick him. The quarterback doesn’t seem ready to play at just any team in the league, as he remains the most sought-after player in 2024.
NFL franchises like the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders and a host of others could trade up to No. 1 to get Williams. This was the same route the Carolina Panthers used in acquiring Bryce Young in the 2023 NFL Draft.
It remains to be seen which NFL team has the desire to land Williams on their roster in the upcoming draft.