Where Caleb Williams ranks amongst last 5 NFL Draft No. 1 overall picks

Where does Caleb Williams rank amongst No. 1 overall picks?
Chicago Bears Introduce Quarterback Caleb Williams And Wide Receiver Rome Odunze
Chicago Bears Introduce Quarterback Caleb Williams And Wide Receiver Rome Odunze / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Did the Chicago Bears finally draft their quarterback of the future?  With the selection of USC’s Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft, hopes are certainly high.  In fact, Williams was the consensus top pick entering the draft based on talent at the QB position and his ceiling.

NFL Draft History: Ranking the No. 1 overall picks in the last 5 NFL Drafts

In looking back at the last 5 NFL drafts, where does Williams rank among the No. 1 overall selections?  Obviously, it is too soon to tell since the former USC star has yet to take a snap in the NFL, so we will base it on the potential impact of the new Bears QB and how those previous picks have performed thus far.

No. 5: Bryce Young, 2023 No. 1 overall pick of the Carolina Panthers

Ironically, Alabama’s Bryce Young was the reason the Chicago Bears were in position to draft Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  In trading up to the top spot to select Young in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Panthers parted with their 2024 overall pick which may end up being the biggest mistake in NFL history.

It’s still too soon to tell, but Young didn’t have a strong rookie season.  On the smaller side, the Alabama QB took a backseat to C.J. Stroud who ended up winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in leading the Houston Texans to the playoffs. 

In his rookie season, the former Heisman Trophy winner completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 2,877 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Playing behind a porous offensive line, Young wasn’t put in the best position but enters a second season in the NFL in which he could enter bust territory.

No. 4: Travon Walker, 2022 No. 1 overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars

The only non-quarterback on the list, Travon Walker was selected No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.  Entering the league as a defensive lineman, Walker made the transition to OLB in his rookie season which made it a learning year for the young defender.

On a defense featuring the NFL’s other Josh Allen, the Georgia Bulldogs product recorded 49 tackles and 3.5 sacks his rookie season and followed that up with 52 tackles with 10.0 sacks his second season in the NFL.  In forming quite the tandem with Allen as far as edge rushers, Walker is still hitting trending upwards in what could be a breakout season in 2024.

No. 3: Caleb Williams, 2024 No. 1 overall pick of the Chicago Bears

There is as much bust potential as superstardom when it comes to Caleb Williams.  The skillset is there, but what makes most observers (and obviously the Bears) excited about the former USC star is his effectiveness as a pocket passer along with his ability to escape the pocket and emphasize much like Patrick Mahomes.

Coming off a final season at USC in which he threw for 3,633 yards with 30 passing touchdowns, Williams showed off that ability but also had his character and mental toughness scrutinized.  That will obviously follow him to the NFL as a No. 1 overall pick with all the talent in the world.  With offensive playmakers surrounding him, Williams should have a better rookie season than Young, make a bigger impact than Walker and maybe even push the player coming in at No. 2.

No. 2: Trevor Lawrence, 2021 No. 1 overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars

By the time the 2024 NFL season is over, Williams could take over this No. 2 spot based on rookie performance.

With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Jaguars did strike gold with the selection of Trevor Lawrence.  It took a season as Lawrence really broke out in his second season in leading the Jaguars to the playoffs. 

In his rookie season in 2021, Lawrence completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 3,641 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.  Those numbers increased considerably in his second season as Lawrence proved he’s the real deal by doubling the TD total and decreasing the INT total while throwing for over 4,000 yards.  Lawrence did battle injuries during his third season in the NFL, but his absence proved how much the Jaguars need him leading the offense.

 No. 1: Joe Burrow, 2020 No. 1 overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Burrow is the top No. 1 overall pick of the last 5 NFL Drafts and its not close based on the clutch factor.

With his rookie season shortened by injury, Burrow bounced back in 2021 and 2022 with MVP caliber seasons to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship Game respectively.  Injuries again got in the way of his 2023 NFL season, but with his leadership and that clutch factor, his health makes the Bengals that much more of a factor and a dangerous team at that.

Although Williams enters the league with much more hype surrounding him than Burrow, it would be a tall task if the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft has as much of an impact as Burrow in his first seasons in the NFL.