Caleb Williams

Quarterback, Southern California (USC)


Measurables (via USC Athletics)

Height: 6010 (6’1″)

Weight: 220


Ever since he first saw significant action against Texas in 2021, Caleb Williams has truly had a storybook collegiate career. In his freshman season, Williams was thrust into the starting role in the Red River Showdown against the Longhorns, trailing by 21 points, and from there, the legend was born. He would score on his first drive of the game, then complete the comeback before taking Oklahoma’s starting quarterback job for the rest of the year.

After an excellent freshman campaign, Williams followed head coach Lincoln Riley to USC, where he put together another fantastic season. This one saw he and Riley elevate the Trojans to their first winning season in five years, with the squad coming oh so close to a College Football Playoff berth. Williams ended the year with the third most passing yards and most passing touchdowns in the country, and eventually found himself hoisting the Heisman trophy.

Williams was the number one ranked player in the high school class of 2020 out of Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC.

KEY STATS (via Sports Reference CFB)

2021 (Oklahoma): 11 Games. 1912 Passing Yards. 21 Passing Touchdowns. 442 Rushing Yards. 6 Rushing Touchdowns.

2022 (USC): 14 Games. 4537 Passing Yards. 42 Passing Touchdowns. 382 Rushing Yards. 10 Rushing Touchdowns.

2023 (USC):


-Intangibles: Whether it’s size, strength, or athleticism, Caleb Williams is the full package. I like to describe his running style as somewhere between Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts, and honestly, his build fits that same description. He’s thick in the lower body–an attribute that consistently shows itself when he takes off running–but has the finesse to balance out that power. It’s rare to find a player who’s built like he could play anywhere on the field, but Williams really is.

-Running the Football: There’s no doubt that this is the aspect of his game that sets him apart from the rest of the field. I’ll go back to my Lamar Jackson/Jalen Hurts comparison because it especially applies here–Williams has both the power and finesse to give defenses headaches on the ground. One of his most impressive plays on tape was his 66-yard touchdown against Texas in 2021, where he bulled his way through some defenders, then made a couple of guys miss on the way to a huge touchdown. This is completely genuine: Williams is a running back playing quarterback.

-Throw on the Run: Williams might honestly be more accurate throwing on the run than he is from the pocket. When the USC product is on the move, he consistently throws darts all over the field, especially excelling when fitting the ball through tight windows. He can try to play hero ball a bit too much when scrambling, but when he finds an open guy, it’s amazing how consistently he puts it in the perfect spot without his feet set.

-Poise Under Pressure: Nothing is more fun than watching Williams navigate a collapsing pocket. Rarely does he take sacks in the pocket–he’s just too elusive for the average college defensive linemen to contain him. Whether it’s him bobbing and weaving his way through oncoming traffic or making guys miss in the backfield, he’s almost impossible to bring down.

-Short Passing Game: Williams is at his best from the pocket when throwing on schedule and taking what the defense gives him. He can often try to play hero ball which leads to a lot of turnover-worthy throws, but when he reads the field and hits his safety valves, the USC offense is nearly impossible to stop. Every once in a while, he’ll make a good intermediate-to-deep throw, but for the most part, his success as a passer comes from taking the easy completions.


-Pocket Presence: While Caleb Williams can make some incredible Houdini-like escapes in collapsing pockets, his demeanor in clean pockets is a bit puzzling. He almost always looks antsy, can often try to escape clean pockets, and makes a lot of unforced off-balance throws. It’s as if he feels so comfortable on the move that he always wants to play in that phase, and it costs him a lot of easy completions.

-Throwing from the Pocket: While his accuracy on the run was clearly something special, Williams misses a shockingly large amount of throws from the pocket. He will consistently miss throws behind the receiver leading to pass breakups and turnover-worthy passes. Again, when he takes what the defense gives him, he’s fine, but as soon as he starts to push the ball further downfield, his accuracy becomes pretty inconsistent.

-Deep Ball Accuracy: If there’s one part of his game that is a real weakness, it’s his deep ball. Every once in a while, he makes a great touch pass that makes you think he can do it, but those are far and few between. His biggest miss is underthrowing his receivers, especially when throwing off balance (obviously), but he’d overthrow his deep passes every once in a while, too. It’s just really messy.

-Decision Making: This is probably the most problematic part of his game, and it goes hand in hand with the previous blurb. Again, Williams can often play hero ball which causes him to try to throw passes into extra tight windows if a window even exists. Against Oregon State, his worst tape from 2022, Williams had around five turnover-worthy throws, none of which were intercepted, from trying to make impossible throws that were just completely uncalled for. Whether it’s throwing the ball away or leaning on his gifts as a runner, Williams has to make better decisions with the ball.


Caleb Williams has a skill set that would thrive on a bad roster. He’s at his best when scrambling and making off-kilter throws, and on a weak roster (like the teams who pick at the top of the draft), he can put those skills on full display.

A team like the Cardinals would covet a guy like Williams for his ability to make the most out of a bad lineup, although I like the idea of him going to Tampa Bay–having Mike Evans in the fold could help alleviate some of his downfield passing woes. Either way, he’s destined to end up on an objectively bad team, and it will be fun to see what kind of impact he will make early in his career.


Caleb Williams is the consensus top player in the 2024 draft class, and it makes perfect sense why. His natural gifts are a sight to behold, and with refinement as a passer, he will be a special player in the NFL. A lot of quarterbacks go high in the draft to bad teams but don’t live up to expectations, but given Williams’ skillset, he has the tools to make an impact even without a great roster around him. Come night one of the 2024 draft, don’t expect to wait very long before hearing Williams’ name called.