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Caleb Williams NFL Draft
NFL Draft

There’s No Way Caleb Williams Doesn’t Declare For NFL Draft, Right?

  • Justin Melo
  • August 24, 2023
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USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams says he hasn’t made a decision whether or not he’ll enter the 2024 NFL Draft. Williams is expected to be the No. 1 overall selection. Williams is focused on the upcoming season with USC, but it’s difficult to imagine him actually forgoing an opportunity to enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

“That’s for sure now going to be an in-the-moment decision at the end of the year,” Caleb Williams said regarding his decision to enter the 2024 NFL Draft. “It’s my third year, and the dream and goal was to go three-and-out. Being around these guys and in college and enjoying it, we’ll have to see at the end of this year.”

It’s extremely unlikely that Williams would return to USC for the 2024 college football campaign (his fourth season overall) despite his strong relationship with head coach Lincoln Riley. It’s rare that a quarterback is so heavily favored to be selected No. 1 overall a full year before the draft, but Williams finds himself in Trevor Lawrence territory. 

By merely suggesting that he might not turn pro, Williams maintains control over his future. If the franchise that earns the first overall selection in 2024 is not a team Williams envisions himself playing for, he could consider returning to USC. Williams spoke strategically.

The defending Heisman Trophy winner was outstanding throughout 2022. Williams threw for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns, and just five interceptions en route to shattering several records. Williams’ 52 total touchdowns (42 passing, 10 rushing) set a single-season record at USC.

Williams, Riley, and the Trojans face new expectations in 2023. USC qualified for the Pac-12 Championship Game last season, but Utah blew them out 47-24 in the final. Williams is set on helping USC win their first conference championship since 2017. If USC achieves that goal, Williams would have little-to-no reason to return for 2024.

USC’s ultimate goal transcends past the Pac-12, though. Williams would love to qualify USC for the four-team College Football Playoff. Restoring the Trojans back to national relevance would complete Williams’ checklist.

As the impending NFL campaign progresses and the basement dwellers are revealed, several franchises will point an eye toward the 2024 NFL Draft prematurely. That’s what the possibility of drafting a talent like Williams does. He is a fortunes-altering prospect.

The Arizona Cardinals are the way-too-early favorites to have the No. 1 pick in 2024. The Cardinals own two first-round selections, one of which originally belonged to the Houston Texans. The Texans have a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback in C.J. Stroud. The Cardinals will be without starting quarterback Kyler Murray for the majority of the season. Both the Cardinals and Texans are strong candidates to finish inside the bottom five, increasing Arizona’s chances of claiming the top overall selection.

The Cardinals would then find themselves in a complicated situation with Murray, but they couldn’t possibly pass on Williams. Would Williams have an interest in remaining out west and playing for the Cardinals? It’s easy to assume yes, but Williams’ latest comments indicate he plans to dictate his future, regardless of who chooses No. 1 overall.

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Justin Melo