USC quarterback Caleb Williams got his 2023 season off to a stellar start on Saturday, throwing four touchdown passes. Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams is the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner — who’s among the favorites to win the 2023 Heisman, too — has received the “generational” prospect label from many college football and NFL evaluators.

And one former NFL general manager is especially high on Williams as a prospect.

During a recent episode of the CBS Sports NFL draft podcast With the First Pick, Rick Spielman was asked by co-host Ryan Wilson where Williams stacks up in comparison to other top quarterback prospects of the past.

Wilson made it simple, naming former prospects and asking Spielman — general manager of the Minnesota Vikings from 2012-2021 and the Miami Dolphins in 2004 — if he’d take each particular prospect or Williams.

“[In the 2023 draft class] Caleb [would’ve been] the first quarterback taken, right?”

Spielman: “Yes.”

Williams over Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, and Anthony Richardson as prospects is a take that would be universally agreed with in the draft community.

But Spielman had some eye-opening opinions as the conversation went on, beginning with Williams vs. Trevor Lawrence.

“What about 2021, when Trevor Lawrence went first? You taking Trevor or Caleb?”

Spielman: “Caleb.”

That was followed by Caleb vs. Joe Burrow.

“2020: Joe Burrow or Caleb?”

Spielman: “Caleb.”

Finally, Spielman ran into some uncertainty when it came to Caleb vs. Andrew Luck, calling it a “toss-up” and saying they’re “1A and 1B.” Ultimately, Spielman “would probably go with Luck just ahead of Caleb.”

“2012: Andrew Luck or Caleb?”

Spielman: “That’s a toss-up for me. I thought Andrew Luck was one of those generational, franchise quarterbacks. I would be real close, but I would probably go with Luck just ahead of Caleb. But right there, 1A and 1B.”

The conversation then went to Caleb vs. the top quarterback of the 1998 draft, Peyton Manning.

“Peyton or Caleb?”

Spielman: “Caleb.”

“Over Peyton?!”

Spielman: “Back then, that was en vogue, the pocket passer. I’m giving Caleb the notch up, just because of the athleticism.”

They went all the way back to the 1980s, talking Caleb vs John Elway.

“Elway or Caleb?”

Spielman: Caleb.

So, that speaks volumes on the perception of Williams as an NFL prospect and definitely won’t do anything to slow down the hype — as well as the talk that certain NFL franchises should tank. The Chicago Bears (who also own the Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick in 2024), Arizona Cardinals (also own the Houston Texans’ first round-pick in 2024), New York Giants, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Vikings could be in the mix for the No. 1 pick.

[With the First Pick on YouTube]

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at