With the latest mock drafts circulating online, the Arizona Cardinals are slated to land the top two picks, one of which would naturally go for a quarterback.
While I’ve hopped back onto the Kyler Murray Bandwagon for the time being, we’re seeing more in the NFL universe falling off of it than ever before. Jordan Reid of ESPN is one of those people, having slated USC’s Caleb Williams to the Arizona Cardinals with the number one overall pick.
So let’s say for a second that Kyler sputters again in 2023, the Cardinals finish 2-15, and they land the first two picks thanks to yet another abysmal season from the Houston Texans. Okay, at this point, they will have no choice but to take a quarterback, but Caleb Williams will not be the answer at number one overall.
3 reasons Arizona Cardinals must steer clear of Caleb Williams
1 - Williams is playing under two of Kyler’s former coaches
Know who Kyler Murray played for in college? Lincoln Riley. And we all know he played for Kliff Kingsbury over the past four seasons, who is now Williams’ quarterbacks coach. So why would the Arizona Cardinals take another quarterback who’s playing (or in this case, played) for the same coaches as Murray?
So far in his career, Riley has coached Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Sure, they are two former number one overall picks, but neither of them has done much in the NFL. Oh, and Mayfield also happened to have had some experience playing under Kingsbury. So why would the Cards even remotely consider Williams if two underperforming number one overall picks (speaking in April 2024 terms) played for the same coaches?
2 - Caleb Williams is undersized
While it’s not uncommon to see undersized quarterbacks taken with a high draft pick, the Cardinals tried this in what will be five seasons ago come April 2024. Once again, why would you try it again, when in this scenario, the undersized Murray regressed so much that you’re taking a quarterback in 2024?
Taking the 6’1 Williams is a risk the Cardinals don’t need to take a second time in five seasons. Instead, if you’re going to take a quarterback, roll with someone like the imposing Drake Maye, who is 6’5, 220 lbs heading into the 2023 season.
3 - He’s basically in an “Air Raid” offense
I won’t deny that Williams is an incredible talent, and that he enjoyed a pair of legendary seasons in 2021 and 2022. But will that translate to the NFL? He’s basically running an “Air Raid” offense at USC, having thrown the ball 500 times in 14 games (35.7 pass attempts/game), and that number will likely grow in 2024.
So again, if Kyler flops and the Arizona Cardinals toil through a terrible 2023 campaign, expect them to take a quarterback in 2024, especially if they get the first overall pick. But it would be reckless to take someone like Williams, who has way too many similarities either to Murray or the type of offense he’s being asked to play in under Lincoln Riley and Kliff Kingsbury.
Source: 2024 NFL mock draft: Jordan Reid's early first-round predictions by Jordan Reid, ESPN.com
(Statistics provided by Sports-Reference/CFB)