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Caleb Williams earning massive praise from NFL evaluators, compared to Patrick Mahomes

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams exceeded expectations last season, winning the Heisman Trophy and being named a unanimous All-American in his first season at USC. While he’s still a year away from being eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft, many around the league are counting down the days until Williams’ arrival.

Rated by 247 Sports’ as the seventh-best recruit in 2021, the 6-foot-1 quarterback took the starting job from Spencer Rattler as a freshman with the Oklahoma Sooners. When head coach Lincoln Riley departed Oklahoma for USC, his five-star quarterback followed him to California.

Related: 5 NFL teams who should tank for Caleb Williams in 2023

Williams dominated in his first season as the Trojans’ quarterback, winning the Heisman Trophy voting with 544 first-place votes and entering as the odds-on favorite to repeat in 2023. While a lot can happen in one year and the pre-draft process involves more in-depth scouting, NFL coaches already love a lot of what they’ve seen from Williams.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic spoke to NFL evaluators about Williams’ talents and how he compares to the top quarterbacks in the 2023 draft class. Unsurprisingly, there was a strong consensus that Williams is a superior talent and he can be an elite player at the next level.

“He is really good. His arm is special. His play extension is special. His throw selection is special. He takes care of the ball well. The throws he makes … it’s not just the off-platform throws, it’s a lot of creating lanes for himself to throw. He’s the closest I’ve seen to (Patrick) Mahomes. He’s like a refined Mahomes. It’s hard to compare anybody to Mahomes, but he really does play like him. I don’t think his arm is quite like that, but it’s definitely special for college. It’s not quite as freaky as Pat’s, but it’s upper-level for the NFL.”

Anonymous NFL quarterbacks coach on Caleb Williams

Even putting Williams in the same sentence as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks volumes about what the NFL thinks about USC’s star. The NFL comparison is obviously to Mahomes when he entered the draft, but it’s not hard to see some of the similarities in their game.

It comes as no surprise that the NFL is higher on Williams than the 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class, which several scouts have called overhyped.

“Caleb is unbelievable, man. I think he is, by far, better than these guys.”

NFL assistant coach on Caleb Williams vs 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class

Williams is several inches taller than Bryce Young and likely played with at least 15 more pounds on his frame than the Alabama quarterback. Meanwhile, Williams is far more athletic than C.J. Stroud and offers a higher ceiling with the ability to improvise and deliver more explosive plays.

As for Anthony Richardson, he offers similar elite skills with even better size but NFL teams are concerned about his inaccuracy in college and his need for development. It all culminates in a consensus evaluation that Williams is an elite talent and would be the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft if he were eligible.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft picks by team

“Caleb is special. He’s a freak. What don’t you like about the guy? Smart kid. Sees the field. Can make every throw. Doesn’t matter if he goes to New York or Green Bay, I think he can handle every situation. Kids like him. I think that’s important.”

NFL positional coach on USC Trojans quarteack Caleb Williams

While the 2024 NFL Draft is one year away, it’s evident many around the league are excited to start scouting Williams and North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. As long as both stars stay healthy, they will likely be the top picks in 2024.

Related: NFL scouts keeping eye on Caleb Williams, Drake Maye

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