2024 NFL draft: Scouts on Caleb Williams strengths, comps, team fits

Think of all the great quarterback prospects you've seen play college football in the past 10 years. Actually, let's make it 15 years -- or even in the entire 21st century. Michael Vick. The excellent 2004 draft class that featured Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. Cam Newton. Andrew Luck, the greatest thing since Peyton Manning. Joe Burrow and his record-setting numbers. And of course, Trevor Lawrence, the promised great one. Put all those quarterbacks on a list of the best QB prospects of the past 23 years.

Now put USC quarterback Caleb Williams -- the heavy favorite to go No. 1 in the 2024 NFL draft -- at the top.

"He is one of the best football players, flat out, I've ever scouted," said an AFC scout who has worked in the league for more than a decade. "He's consistently the best player on the field."

NFL scouts have lined up to watch Williams since he first joined Oklahoma before the 2021 season and took over as the starter midway through that year. He followed coach Lincoln Riley to USC before the 2022 season and has become a must-see prospect for evaluators. At the Trojans' game against Colorado in late September, 30 NFL teams had scouts in attendance, largely to see Williams. For context, a quick poll of a half-dozen college football sports information directors suggested that number is rivaled only by the 2019 LSU-Alabama matchup, which featured 23 eventual draft picks in the 2020 class.

So what makes Williams so special? Is he a sure thing? Why are scouts throwing around the phrase "best ever" when talking about his game? We talked to more than a dozen scouts, coaches and executives about Williams' talent over the past four months, digging into his strengths, concerns (if there are any), comps and pro projection. Here's what we heard on Williams, who faces Notre Dame on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC) as USC tries to get to 7-0.

Jump to:
Strengths | Ceiling
Riley effect | Weaknesses
Comps | Top pick lock? | Best fits

Why are scouts in love with Williams' skill set?