So far in 2023, Caleb Williams has put together a legendary season, having tossed for 1,822 yards, 22 touchdown passes, and just one interception. Earlier in the year, I cautioned that the Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t fall for the Williams hype until he played tougher opponents.
That has still been the case as of late, with the Trojans facing Arizona State, Colorado, and the University of Arizona over the past three games. With a combined record of 8-10, it shows us that Williams still has yet to face top-tier competition, but with Notre Dame coming up tomorrow, we may finally get a better look at the supposed top prospect in the country.
Why bring all of this up now? A recent headline from ESPN caught my eye, where draft analyst Matt Miller wrote up a piece speculating whether Williams was a generational talent in the mold of Trevor Lawrence, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and John Elway, among others.
While that could be the case and I won’t rule it out, it doesn’t mean the Cardinals need to embark on a midseason tank to ultimately roll with Williams over their incumbent starter, Kyler Murray - or better yet, incumbent starter once he’s ready to return.
Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t buy into Caleb Williams hype
Sans last week’s debacle, quarterback Joshua Dobbs has put up better numbers than we all thought he would. It shows us that, if Dobbs can run the Cardinals offense efficiently for the most part, then someone like Murray, who offensive coordinator Drew Petzing built the system around, should thrive.
This puts the Cardinals a rung over teams like their old rival, the Chicago Bears, who currently hold the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. There are other teams with spotty quarterback situations, and while there is no guarantee Murray will return strong, the system has already been built for him.
Drafting Williams would mean pushing the reset button on what the Arizona Cardinals were trying to accomplish over the past year. Not to mention, it would cost them quite a lot of money if they moved or released Murray.
Finally, given how poorly some teams have played this season like the Bears, the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots, and Minnesota Vikings (I’m leaving the Carolina Panthers out for obvious reasons), the Cards would need to host a fire sale to even remotely get close to the number one pick.
In short, this is an avenue the Cardinals don’t need to pursue, even if Williams is the second coming of John Elway or Peyton Manning. If Murray doesn’t work out and the Cards decide they need a quarterback, there are several possible options like Drake Maye, Shedeur Sanders, and JJ McCarthy.
Source: 2024 NFL draft: Scouts on Caleb Williams strengths, comps, team fits by Matt Miller, ESPN
(Statistics provided by Sports-Reference)