Shedeur Sanders NFL Draft decision could be affected by game vs USC

The NFL decision Shedeur Sanders must eventually make was seemingly put on the back burner by his father, Deion Sanders, during an interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks when Coach Prime implied that his son won’t be entering the NFL draft as a second fiddle to USC quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.

“It’s not about what I’m seeing from them, it’s about a whole lot of other things: team, position, round projection,” Coach Prime said of his sons going to the NFL. “All of that, plays a role. Now, with NIL, and who they are, shoot, you could make just as much money here as you can there [the NFL], unless you’re one of the first five picks.

“But Shedeur don’t want to be two to nobody. He don’t get down like that. People are projecting him behind Caleb Williams. And Caleb Williams is phenomenal. But Shedeur ain’t no backseat rider. He drives his Maybach. He doesn’t have a driver in it — he drives it.”

What if Shedeur Sanders outplays Caleb Williams when Colorado hosts USC in Week 5?

Williams is seen as the singular force who could change the luck of down-on-their-luck franchises like the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, or Minnesota Vikings that are winless through the first three weeks of the NFL season. The USC QB was nearly unanimously crowned the 2024 NFL draft’s No. 1 pick by pundits before he took a single snap during USC’s 2023 season.

Being unseated from his throne by a player who was in the SWAC just a season ago seems preposterous, but so did Colorado starting 3-0 in 2023 with a win on the road against the 2022 College Football Playoff Championship runner-up, TCU, in Week 1.

Sanders can flip the script on September 30 with his back up against the wall and his Buffs tabbed as a three-touchdown-plus underdog against the Trojans at home by outdueling the Washington D.C. native. And it’s not impossible.

Remember, Williams has played at a similar elevation to the Rocky Mountains just once: on October 15, 2022, in Utah. Sure, USC lost to the Utes, but Williams threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns while adding another 57 yards with his feet. Perhaps banking on Williams having an off-game isn’t so wise.

But expecting Sanders to put up similar numbers against a Trojans defense that just ceded 28 points to Arizona State’s backup quarterback isn’t the most far-fetched hypothetical. Remember, against superior opponents (TCU, Nebraska, Colorado State, Oregon) to what Williams has faced through the first four weeks of the season (San Jose State, Nevada, Stanford, Arizona State), Sanders has 210 more passing yards and a higher completion rate.

Can Shedeur Sanders change the NFL draft narrative by outdueling Caleb Williams when USC plays Colorado?

Colorado doesn’t need to beat USC to shift the narrative. Instead, Sanders simply needs to dissect a defense that may ultimately hold the Trojans back from claiming a Pac-12 crown in their last season in the conference.

With how quickly the way teams and players are viewed in college based on the results of a single performance, Sanders should see the USC matchup as his Super Bowl.

Perhaps one day, Sanders and Williams will be playing each other in an actual Super Bowl. And maybe that’ll be with both players having heard their names called first by Roger Goodell on NFL draft day.