Caleb Williams’ father – No lock USC QB declares for this draft

Caleb Williams has taken an unconventional path to college stardom, and he could do the same thing in the NFL, with his father saying there’s no guarantee the USC quarterback declares for the draft.

That’s a far cry from what had been planned. When his son was being recruited, Carl Williams asked schools what plan they had for his son to be the first pick in the 2024 draft. Now that the draft is a season away and teams like the Arizona Cardinals are poised to have the first pick, Carl’s not so sure.

“The funky thing about the NFL draft process is, he’d almost be better off not being drafted than being drafted first,” Carl Williams said in a recent interview for GQ. “The system is completely backwards. The way the system is constructed, you go to the worst possible situation. The worst possible team, the worst organization in the league — because of their desire for parity — gets the first pick. So it’s the gift and the curse.”

The big difference between now and past situations is that Caleb Williams can make money while in school. According to multiple reports, Williams is poised to make around $3 million this season using his name, image and likeness.

Past top college players did not have that option and so they jumped into the NFL.

“I’ve talked to Archie Manning — his career was shot because he went to a horrible organization,” Carl Williams said. “I’ve talked to Lincoln [Riley], and Kyler [Murray] struggled because of where he was drafted. Baker [Mayfield] struggled mightily because of where he was drafted. The organizations matter.”

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index simulations of the 2023 season, the worst teams in the league — and therefore those picking first — will be the Cardinals, Raiders, Saints and — shockingly — the Cowboys.

Maybe a surprise team like Dallas stumbling into the top pick makes Williams’ decision easy. But it appears clear that he is keeping his options open. He said as much before the USC season started.

“That’s for sure now going to be an in-the-moment decision at the end of the year,” Williams said of the 2024 NFL draft. “It’s my third year, and the dream and goal was to go three-and-out. Being around these guys and in college and enjoying it, we’ll have to see at the end of this year.”

So far, Williams’ decisions have paid off. He chose to play for Riley at Oklahoma and turned into a budding star. He followed Riley to USC and won the Heisman. Now he has a chance to be the first player to win back-to-back Heismans since Archie Griffin at Ohio State in 1975.

And if he doesn’t like who’s drafting first? Williams could be chasing Heisman No. 3.

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