Next Pats Podcast

Should USC QB Caleb Williams be the next face of the Patriots?

Former USC and Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel shares his scouting report of the young QB.

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The Mac Jones Era in New England appears to be nearing its end, leaving the quarterback position a mystery for the Patriots in 2024 and beyond.

On the bright side, the Patriots' 2-9 record gives them a strong chance to have a top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft if they continue to pile up the losses. If they do get a top-three selection, they could end up with the next face of their franchise.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams, North Carolina QB Drake Maye, and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. are widely considered the top three prospects in next year's draft class. The Patriots presumably would gladly take any of those three, but Williams is deemed as a generational talent.

New England enters Week 13 with the third overall pick in the 2024 draft, and while many view Williams as a No. 1 or No. 2 pick, some recent mock drafts have the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner falling to the Patriots at No. 3.

He's extremely talented, but would he be a good fit for the Patriots? Former USC and Pats QB Matt Cassel joined Phil Perry on a new Next Pats Podcast to share his scouting report of Williams.

🔊 Next Pats: Caleb Williams may be the “ULTIMATE COMPETITOR" but should he be the next face of the Patriots? Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I think it's a generational skill set that you don't see. He's unique in terms of, he's got a vast skill set and his superpower is his ability to extend plays, to make people miss in small spaces," Cassel said. "I mean, you see it a lot of times in college football players. They have a free runner, the protection's not perfect and they panic. But he has this calm, poised ability to make that guy miss and then do something crazy, but keeps his eyes downfield and creates explosive plays. ...

"He's got an incredible arm. He can make all the throws. Now, I wouldn't say that he's one of those throwers when you watch his throwing motion he's as fluid as maybe some of these other guys, like a Drake Maye or a Jayden Daniels. However, when you watch him, he puts the ball wherever he wants to put it with accuracy. And then the other part about it is he also excels in that zone read game, in the RPO game, the run-pass option game where he's been running it since he came in as a freshman. He knows it so well.

"So there's a lot of stuff that is unique to Caleb Williams. But the big question mark that I think a lot of people have about Caleb Williams is how does that transfer into the NFL game? Because he's probably around 95, 96, maybe 100 percent in shotgun the entire time. You don't see him under center, you don't see him running the traditional sense of play-action pass. It's all off of the zone read or the RPO game."

Williams' "generational skill set" is obvious to anyone who has watched him over the last couple of years, but what are some weaknesses to be aware of?

"I think one of his biggest weaknesses is that he has so much confidence in himself to extend a play, to make the big play, that sometimes he'll bypass a wide-open wide receiver," Cassel said.

"There's times where that confidence that he has and his own skill set, his ability to extend plays and look for that big play downfield, he'll bypass something that is within the structure of the offense. ... So I think that that's the challenge when you take a guy like Caleb Williams is, No. 1, how are you going to structure the offense to fit his skill set? And No. 2, how can you make him play discipline within the offensive structure?"

Also in the episode:

  • Is the Mac Jones era in New England officially over?
  • Why the Chargers make sense to be Bill Belichick’s new team
  • Is Patrick Mahomes a fair comp for Williams?
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