National Football League
Shedeur Sanders has the hype — and skill — to be QB1 in 2025 draft class
National Football League

Shedeur Sanders has the hype — and skill — to be QB1 in 2025 draft class

Updated May. 16, 2024 7:34 p.m. ET

The ink is barely dry in scouts' notebooks outlining expectations for the top signal-callers in the 2024 NFL Draft, but eyes are already on the aspiring QB1 building a case to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2025. 

While the hype around the Colorado program has subsided since the Buffaloes posted a 4-8 record in Coach Prime's debut season, Shedeur Sanders could keep NFL scouts rolling through Boulder to see the top prospect in the 2025 class. Though Georgia's Carson Beck and Texas' Quinn Ewers could make a push for the top spot, the flamboyant 6-foot-2, 215-pounder is at the top of the charts after completing 69.3 percent of his passes for 3,230 yards and 27 touchdowns during his debut with the Buffaloes. 

As a classic drop-back passer with an impressive set of tools as a pocket passer, Sanders is built for a pro-style offense that features traditional pass concepts designed to target every area of the field. From various in-breaking routes at the short- and intermediate-range (slants, digs, seams, and deep overs) to vertical throws delivered outside of the numbers, the cocky gunslinger flashes blue-chip traits as a distributor from the pocket. Moreover, Sanders displays the poise, confidence, and swagger to make the big-time throws that elite quarterbacks are expected to make in the clutch. 

While studying Sanders' performance at Jackson State and Colorado, it is apparent he has the high IQ and processing skills to win as a cerebral playmaker from the pocket. Though the competition levels are different, his initial success in the SWAC as a true freshman revealed a mature player with a game advanced beyond his years. Sanders guided the Tigers to a 23-3 record, with an unblemished mark (16-0) within the conference. Considering he posted back-to-back seasons with 3,000-plus yards, the performance and production from a quarterback fresh out of high school suggest Sanders can quickly adjust and flourish within a new environment. 


Although the skeptics will suggest that Sanders dominated low-level competition with a "dream team" of a supporting cast that included a handful of four- and five-star recruits (SEE: Travis Hunter), it is hard to ignore his efficiency and effectiveness as a youngster against fourth- and fifth-year players in a very competitive league. Sanders led Jackson State to a pair of HBCU national championship games (Celebration Bowl). 

From a critical standpoint, Sanders' nonchalance with his footwork and fundamentals rarely got him into trouble against inferior competition, but his propensity to drift within the pocket remains an issue at Colorado. At Jackson State, he could get away with shoddy technique due to his superior talent, but the better competition in the Pac-12 (and Big 12) conference will expose his inconsistent fundamentals if he fails to tighten up his mechanics before the 2024 season. 

There is much to like about Sanders' game as a potential pro. He displays all the physical attributes offensive coordinators covet in a franchise quarterback. He makes all of the requisite throws easily and can change his pitches depending on the situation and circumstance. Whether it is layering a throw over a short area defender but in front of a deep defender or placing the ball on the receiver's outside number to lead him away from trouble, Sanders' accuracy and ball placement rates near the top of the charts. 

The Buffaloes' standout quarterback repeatedly makes "wow" throws under pressure, displaying rare poise as a young player. The poise in the clutch, in particular, suggests he is built for high-pressure moments, including red zone, third-down, and two-minute situations. Whereas some quarterbacks flinch or fold in those "win-or-go-home" moments, Sanders excels in critical moments. 

Despite the Buffaloes' dismal record last season, the ultra-confident playmaker made a series of "big time" throws against TCU, Nebraska, Colorado State, and Arizona State to seal the victory for his squad. During the team's eight losses, he also flashed enough promise and potential to earn a gold star sticker in a scout's notebook for his toughness and competitive stamina. 

Deion, Shedeur Sanders clap back at transfers' criticism of Colorado program

With Sanders showing outstanding judgment and ball security, avoiding excessive turnovers (only three interceptions), the Buffaloes' QB1 certainly understands how to play winning football. If he continues to protect the ball while delivering the "splash plays" expected from a top-rated prospect, he will earn a first-round grade from evaluators looking for a franchise quarterback at the top of the board. Though a prospective team would need to understand and appreciate his theatrics as a bold and brash competitor, Sanders' on-field performance warrants consideration as a first-round prospect (potential Year 1 starter) with top-10 potential (top 5-to-top 10 potential as his respective potential) as a pro. 

While the haters will spend most of the next season nitpicking his flaws, Sanders could emerge as the No. 1 overall player in the 2025 class with a few simple fixes to his game. 

Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He also breaks down the game for NFL Network and as a cohost of the "Moving the Sticks" podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.






































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