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NFL Draft Profile – QB Caleb Williams

By Doug Orth | 3/26/24 |

Caleb Williams


College: USC
Height/Weight: 6’ 1’’/214
Hands: 9 3/4’"
Age: 22 (at the time of the 2024 season opener)

Important NFL Combine Numbers

40-Yard Dash: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
20-Yard Shuttle: N/A
3-Cone: N/A

College Production (Stats)

High-end NFL Player Comp(s): Pre-injury Dak Prescott with Patrick Mahomes' improvisational skills

Low-end NFL Player Comp(s): Johnny Manziel

Best Scheme Fit: Universal. He might benefit from an offense that incorporates a steady diet of play-action/RPO (run-pass option) concepts.

Best Team Fit(s): Commanders, Bears, Broncos

Non-bolded times - Good examples of attribute
Bolded times - Average/poor examples of attribute

Position-Specific Attributes and Grades
Attribute Att Grade Scale Examples
Accuracy 8.5 10.0 3:40, 7:57, 8:15, 12:12, 13:27

7:10, 9:56
Anticipation/Tight Window 9.0 10.0

3:40, 4:24, 5:32, 6:59, 7:36, 7:57, 8:15, 17:31

1:47, 9:16, 10:27

Decision Making 7.5 10.0

1:35, 2:13, 6:29

0:30, 1:47, 6:20, 6:51, 7:40, 10:07, 10:27

Durability 9.5 10.0



Improvisation/Throw On Run 10.0 10.0

0:36, 1:16, 1:20, 2:06, 2:48, 9:49, 10:40, 13:27, 13:36

4:50, 10:07

Poise/Awareness 9.0 10.0

1:35, 2:48, 5:12, 6:17, 6:29, 13:36

0:30, 6:20, 7:40, 9:11, 11:18

Vision/Read Progression 8.5 10.0

2:45, 3:03, 7:37, 7:57, 11:50, 13:27

3:24, 6:20, 6:51, 7:40, 9:16

Athleticism/Mobility 4.5 5.0

0:20, 0:27, 1:36, 2:18, 5:02, 5:05

Arm Strength 4.5 5.0

1:16, 1:34, 2:34, 3:43, 5:36, 6:49, 9:49, 14:23

Film Grade 71.0 80.0

Pre-Draft Fantasy Prospect Grade* (out of 50): 42.0

* - How well does his skill set carry over to the fantasy game? For quarterbacks, a player needs to be a realistic threat for 4,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards to be a candidate for a perfect grade. Positional scarcity at the pro level is also a part of the equation.


  • Patient in the pocket but turns into an escape artist when the offensive line springs a leak; extends plays as well as any quarterback prospect in recent memory.

  • Seems as if he can simultaneously keep his eyes downfield AND feel where he needs to run should a throwing opportunity not present itself.

  • Generates incredible torque while throwing against his body; comfortable and very adept at throwing from just about every arm angle.

  • Exceptional 46:1 TD-to-INT ratio in the red zone at USC highlights how much he values the ball as a passer.

  • Routinely finds his secondary receivers.

  • High level of play in 2023 barely dropped off despite the departure of Jordan Addison.


  • Relied almost entirely on "playground football."

  • In each of his two seasons at USC, Williams needed an average of at least 3.19 seconds to throw the ball on any drop-back and 2.9 seconds to throw on any pass attempt. (Most NFL teams want/need their quarterbacks to get the ball out of their hands in less than 2.5 seconds.)

  • Ball security was severely lacking throughout his college career (33 career fumbles) - many of which were likely a product of his improvisation.

  • Trusts his athleticism too much at times in hopes he can buy time for his receivers.

  • Regularly walks a fine line between indifference and ignorance of pressure coming off the edge; invites chaos.

  • Well-built but a bit on the short side (6-1).

Bottom Line

Williams enters the league with as much fanfare as any quarterback since at least Trevor Lawrence and perhaps as much as Andrew Luck. Perhaps no prospect in recent memory has created something out of nothing more often than Williams, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. On one hand, defenses will eventually crack as the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner buys time play after play by seemingly working every inch of the pocket. If that does not do the trick, Williams is more than capable of breaking off a chunk run if the defense loses its rush integrity. While he is not a player in the Josh Allen mold who can (or should) lead his team in rushing, he runs well and typically converts in short-yardage situations. Last but not least, he makes special throws that only a handful of people on the planet can make.

On the other hand, Williams created offense off-script so often throughout his college career that his ability to win inside the pocket consistently at the next level is a question mark. There should be at least some concern if he can operate within the structure of a play call because he so infrequently threw the ball on time (when he reaches the top of his drop-back). Worse yet, there is a history of (USC HC) Lincoln Riley's quarterbacks waiting to see receivers break wide open (as opposed to anticipating them and throwing into open windows) - something that would explain why Williams felt the need to buy time so often. Williams showed great poise and awareness most of the time, but outside pressure - specifically from cornerbacks or safeties - typically went unnoticed until it was too late. The Washington, D.C. native was also far too lackadaisical in his efforts to protect the ball in chaotic situations. Williams could also do a better job of aligning his feet with his throw more often. He has the arm strength to get away with it in college, but it could get him in trouble in the NFL.

Williams showed flashes of being a more refined pocket passer than most college prospects on the rare occasion he was not trying to buy time or evade pressure. For a quarterback who spent virtually his entire college career in a spread attack led by either Riley or Kliff Kingsbury, that alone is an impressive feat. (Far too many college quarterbacks nowadays are too reliant on bubble/tunnel screens and/or their first read getting open right away.) Williams' gaudy 93:14 touchdown-to-interception ratio (no more than five interceptions in any of his three seasons) speaks to his ability to make good decisions and keep the ball out of harm's way as a passer. The arm strength, ability to release the ball from multiple angles and throw across his body are similar to Mahomes, although a huge difference between the two is that Mahomes has always been able to operate well within the structure of a play as well. That last part will remain a mystery with Williams until he proves otherwise. The fear is that Williams has already shown what he is - an improvisational player - who needs to rely on his athleticism and struggles to function in a timing-based offense, which was one of the major reasons Manziel failed to the degree he did. Williams will almost certainly be more Prescott than Manziel, but it should not be considered a lock that he ends up being the best quarterback in his class. For now, Williams' most reasonable comp is a young Prescott, although his upside is much higher. He can reach that upside if his new team can convince him to improvise on more of a need-to basis.

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Doug Orth has written for FFToday since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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