LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans walks off the field during the second quarter against the Nevada Wolf Pack at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 02, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Caleb Williams' Dad Hints at Holding Out Of 2024 NFL Draft

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams could hold out of the 2024 NFL Draft depending on who is picking No. 1 overall.

If you Google "2024 NFL Mock Draft" right now, you'll find USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams going No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals 10 times out 10. But according to his dad, there's a chance the reigning Heisman Trophy winner could stay at USC for another season.

In an interview with GQ Sports, Williams' father, Carl, mentioned that the junior would return to USC if the situation coming out is less than ideal.

"The funky thing about the NFL draft process is, he'd almost be better off not being drafted than being drafted first," Williams said in the interview. "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."

Playing for USC, Williams is part of one of the best programs in the country under Lincoln Riley. According to On3, he makes about $2.6 million annually from NIL (name/image/likeness) deals with Beats by Dre, Wendy's, Dr. Pepper and more.

The NIL situation allows players to have more say in their future instead of playing well and leaving to capitalize on an NFL contract as soon as possible.

"I mean, I've talked to Archie Manning — his career was shot because he went to a horrible organization," the elder Williams added. "I've talked to Lincoln, and Kyler [Murray] struggled because of where he was drafted [by the Arizona Cardinals]. Baker [Mayfield] struggled mightily because of where he was drafted [by the Cleveland Browns]. The organizations matters. ... He's got two shots at the apple. So if there's not a good situation, the truth is, he can come back to school."

If you look at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Cardinals quickly have the lowest win total over/under futures prop at 3.5. The Cardinals also hold the Houston Texans' first-round pick, which many project could be as high as No. 2 overall — which could, theoretically, pair Williams with Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

The Cardinals lack talent but have a new regime with head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort, who appear poised to rebuild the franchise. Williams could be the face of it.

Do we think Williams would forgo the 2024 NFL Draft to stay at USC? It's unlikely. But these comments, coupled with his NIL success, give some pause — which could create an environment that makes it difficult for bad NFL teams to rebuild.

Through two games this season, Williams has completed 73.5% of his passes for 597 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Trojans' next game will be Sept. 9 at 10:30 p.m. ET at home against the Stanford Cardinal.

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