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Shedeur Sanders draws intriguing NFL comparison from ESPN analyst

Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders was the best player in the Southwestern Athletic Concern in the FCS last season. Now starring for Colorado, Sanders is proving to be one of the best quarterbacks in college football.

Sanders was a 247 Sports‘ three-star recruit in 2021, choosing Jackson State over offers from Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oregon and Florida State. After starring for the Tigers, Shedeur followed his father Deion Sanders to Colorado.

  • Shedeur Sanders stats 2023: 80.0 QBR, 10-1 TD-INT, 1,251 passing yards, 78.7% completion rate, 9.2 yards per attempt

Months later, the Buffaloes are 3-0 and rocketing up the top 25 college football rankings. While ‘Coach Prime’ and two-way star Travis Hunter have received a lot of the credit, Shedeur Sanders might be the player most responsible for the Buffaloes’ success.

The 21-year-old quarterback has displayed outstanding physical tools this season, while also flashing the mental side of the game that is required to be a top quarterback at any level. Firmly in the Heisman Trophy race heading into a Week 4 matchup against the Oregon Ducks, Sanders is catching a lot of attention from scouts and NFL Draft analysts.

  • Shedeur Sanders stats (4th quarter): 84.6% completion rate, 3-0 TD-INT, 15.5 yards per attempt, 253.2 passer rating, 1 rushing touchdown

ESPN’s Jordan Reid has offered high praise of Sanders throughout the 2023 season. Following Saturday’s victory over Colorado State, ESPN’s NFL Draft expert raved about Sanders’ accuracy, command and poise. The traits Sanders showed on Saturday added further credibility to Reid’s NFL comparison for the Colorado quarterback.

“At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Sanders reminds me a lot of Geno Smith as a prospect coming out.”

Jordan Reid on NFL comparision for Shedeur Sanders

Smith, the 39th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, might not seem like an ideal career projection. After all, he posted a 25-34 TD-INT line in his first two seasons with a 57.5% completion rate and a 71.5 quarterback rating. From 2015-’21, he appeared in just 15 games.

However, the 2022 season demonstrated that Smith’s career is not an indictment of his talent. As the Seahawks’s starting quarterback last season, Smith led the team to a playoff appearance. He also led the NFL in completion rate (69.8 percent), had the second-highest QB rating (120.7) when throwing deep with the fifth-best QB rating (78.0) when pressured.

There’s also another similarity between Smith and Sanders. In 2022, Smith posted a 71.22 percent completion rate with an 11-5 TD-INT line and 99 QB rating in the second half of games. This year at Colorado, Sanders has an 81.7 percent completion rate and 7-0 TD-INT line in the second half of games.

It’s still very possible that Sanders will stay at Colorado in 2024, skipping the upcoming draft class with the hope of being the top quarterback in the 2025 NFL Draft. Whenever he decides to declare, there will be several NFL teams interested in drafting him fairly high.

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