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Purple & Gold Prospects: Caleb Williams Scouting Report

Welcome to Purple & Gold Prospects!

This will be an ongoing series to get Vikings fans familiar with upcoming draft prospects. The focus of this series will be to cover prominent prospects entering the upcoming NFL Draft. The series will center on the position groups of highest need on the current Vikings roster, but will also cover stand out players across the spectrum. I hope you will join me on this continuing journey to learn more about upcoming draft classes.

With that let’s discover the possible future of your Minnesota Vikings!

Background

Caleb Williams was a 5-star recruit and the number 1 overall player in the country out of Gonzaga High School. Williams committed to Oklahoma in 2020. After his freshman season in 2021, Williams transferred to USC. That year he won the Heisman Trophy with a whopping 4537 passing yards, 42 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions, and a completion rate of 66.6 percent. He added 382 yards on the ground along with 10 TDs, leading the Trojans to an impressive 11-3 record. So far in just over 2 college seasons, he has accumulated 7327 yards passing, a 75-9 TD-INT ratio, and an extremely impressive completion rate of 67.1 percent. Williams was projected as a first-round draft pick out of high school; he is now the frontrunner to go number 1 overall in the NFL Draft.

Games watched: Arizona 2022, Arizona State 2022, Cal 2022, Oregon State 2022

Strengths

Williams is extremely elusive in the pocket. He is consistently able to extend plays and make throws downfield. He is a plus runner and able to pick up good yardage with his legs, but he always keeps his eyes downfield trying to dagger opponents. Williams possesses incredible arm talent. He is extremely accurate and his mechanics are great most of the time. Williams is good at diagnosing defenses pre-snap. He does a good job of squaring himself with the pass and consistently rifles it into very tight windows to hit receivers in stride. Williams is excellent at throwing away from defenders, placing balls where only his receiver can make a play on the catch. He really trusts his receivers in contested catch situations with this ball placement. Williams’ accuracy and placement is almost equally as impressive on the run or off-platform. He can be a really good short-game conductor on designed plays and quick reads. Williams displays great placement and accuracy on deep throws as well. He uses a variety of launch angles and releases to layer balls across the field. Williams shows good poise in the pocket and is very good in high-pressure situations. His athletic ability, combined with his strengths as a passer, have created constant electric plays throughout his college career.

Weaknesses

For everything Williams does well there are still warts to his game. The first is the easiest to see throughout his tape. Williams tries to play hero ball too much. He tries too often to hit the deep shot and will pass on easy yardage. Williams will need to work more within a system at the next level. His mechanics can also disappear too frequently. Because his arm talent is so good it often doesn’t matter but his lower body will disconnect from his upper body and cause problems. His footwork will need to become more consistent at the next level as well. He also has a fairly low trajectory a number of times allowing defensive linemen and other defenders a chance at batting the ball. The final thing that appears on his tape was during the Oregon State game in September of 2022. Williams looked uncomfortable all game and it caused a ton of accuracy issues. Although the game resulted in a 17-14 win for the Trojans, it persisted throughout the entire game. There were no outlying pressures or defensive schemes that accounted for this lapse in efficiency. A prospect of Williams caliber should be able to relax after a few drives and get into a rhythm.

So far in 2023

Williams has started 2023 right where he left off in 2022. He has amassed 878 yards passing with a 12-0 TD to INT ratio. The most impressive stat is that Williams has an amazing 78.6 completion percentage through 3 games. The Trojans have been blowing out their competition this year and Williams is showing why he is a runaway favorite to go number 1 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Grade

Accuracy: 14.5 / 15
Decision Making/Mental Ability: 13.9 / 15
Mechanics: 12.1 / 15
Touch/Trajectory: 14.1 / 15
Arm Strength: 9.5 / 10
Athleticism: 8.1 / 10
Durability: 9.5 / 10
Pocket Presence: 8.5 / 10
OVERALL: 90.2 – Mid First Round

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