The first time former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer saw Caleb Williams was when the five-star recruit was a junior in high school. 

The Elite 11, a premier quarterback showcase for the top high school recruits in the country, had Williams going against his peers, and Palmer saw a clear gap in level of play. 

“I said it then, and I’ve never said it about anyone else: That’s the best kid I’ve ever seen,” Palmer told Fox News Digital. “I know when I say those things out loud it can carry some weight, so I don’t throw that around a lot. I’m not the over-hyper.”

Years later, Williams has starred at Oklahoma and USC, winning the Heisman with the Trojans as a true sophomore with 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns passing in 14 games. 


Palmer, who has studied and worked with numerous NFL quarterbacks, including Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and others, believes Williams tops them all as a prospect if he were to enter the NFL Draft after this season.

“I’ll say right now entering the draft, whenever that is for him, he’ll be the best guy I’ve seen entering the draft,” Palmer said. “Ready to play, can do all the things mental, physical and emotional.

“It feels to me like he’s a top-tier NFL quarterback, like upper half, who is getting to play against college kids this year.”


Williams is an intriguing prospect because of his ability to extend plays, read defenses and make plays others cannot.

It’s why Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, arguably the best signal-caller in the NFL today, has been the top comparable for Williams as observers look ahead at Williams’ NFL career. 

Palmer sees obvious comparisons to Mahomes — the arm strength, the pre-snap reads and, most importantly, the “magician” pass plays.

But Palmer is confident saying Williams is a better prospect than Mahomes was entering the NFL Draft. 

“Talent and ability, yeah, he’s on a faster trajectory toward that than Patrick was,” Palmer said of Williams. “Because Patrick was at Texas Tech having to score 45 points just to come close to winning a game. [The team] not playing any defense, not playing any big, relevant games. I’m one of the few people that watched all of Patrick Mahomes’ college games and went to a couple. Nobody else was. Nobody knew who he was.”

Palmer explained how USC head coach Lincoln Riley’s offensive system is similar to NFL systems in how complex it is. Williams is leading a complicated offense for the Trojans, something Palmer feels Mahomes didn’t have to do. 

In turn, Williams is getting “way more experience and quality reps at being a franchise quarterback than Patrick had” at the same point of their careers. 

Of course, Mahomes already has Super Bowl hardware and MVP titles. Like any other rookie quarterback, Williams must prove himself before he’s thrust into that conversation of the game’s elite quarterbacks. 

Palmer says it’s entirely dependent on where Williams lands out of college. 

“Any team who knows how to take a great quarterback and build around him with play-callers, with the way they teach it, with the personnel around him,” Palmer said when asked what a good NFL fit for Williams would be. 

“If a team can do that, they’re going to have a chance to win a couple Super Bowls. If they don’t know how to do that, there’s a chance he looks average. That’s how important it is going to the right spot versus the wrong spot.”

Williams told Palmer on his “The QB Room” podcast he wants to be “immortal” when his NFL career comes to an end. He’s got a ways to go before that can become a reality. 

But as Williams continues to carve up defenses and cement his place as college football’s No. 1 prospect, he appears to be on the right path.