Shedeur Sanders has never wanted for confidence. It’s a hallmark of all the legendary quarterbacks — an unflinching faith in your own ability.
The Colorado quarterback believes he’s better than any of the guys available in the 2024 NFL Draft. Better than 2022 Heisman winner Caleb Williams, better than 2023 Heisman winner Jayden Daniels, better than Drake Maye, and better than national champion JJ McCarthy.
Though he was eligible to enter this year’s draft class, Sanders passed on the pros in favor of another season with Travis Hunter, his father, and the Buffaloes in Boulder.
Ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine later this month, perhaps he wanted to send a message to quarterback-needy teams that patience would be rewarded.
“I’m biased, but I don’t see a quarterback that’s better than me,” Sanders recently told Sports Illustrated’s Brice Butler. “I don’t see a quarterback that went through as much adversity as me, that had four different OCs in four years. Coming from an HBCU, coming to a Power Five [program], having real pressure on me. A lot of people don’t understand, that’s a lot more adversity than you think, just even being the son of Deion Sanders. You put any of those guys in [my] situation, they’re not doing that.
“But I respect their game. I respect what they’re doing because to be able to be a first-round draft pick, to be able to have success on the field, it takes a lot of hard work and determination and everything. And they’ve got different challenges they go through. But the most pressure and the safest bet is me.”
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The Buffs gave up 56 sacks in 12 games during the 2023 season. Sanders faced an unrelenting assault from opposing pass-rushers that ultimately resulted in a fracture in his back that forced him to miss the team’s finale.
If Colorado can keep him upright and hold up in the trenches, Sanders has already proven he can win games with his arm.
He threw for 510 yards and four touchdowns in his FBS debut, helping Colorado over TCU 45-42 in Forth Worth. Two weeks later, he threw for 348 yards and another four scores to beat Colorado State 43-35 in double overtime. Sanders threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 36 seconds in regulation, then threw touchdowns in both overtime periods to win it for CU. On the road against ASU, he led a five-play, 50-yard drive in 38 seconds to set up Colorado’s game-winning field goal.
Sanders ended the season with the most passing yards (3,230) and the second-most passing touchdowns (27) in a season in CU history. He also set a school record for the highest completion percentage (69.3%) in a season.
It’s also worth mentioning that when the season started to go horribly sideways for Colorado, Sanders handled things about as well as can be expected. Despite a midseason offensive coordinator change, a non-existent run game, and a shoddy offensive line, he remained a strong team leader by most accounts.
Looking ahead, Sanders could put himself in contention to be the top quarterback in the 2025 draft class with a strong season. He’s in a class with players like Quinn Ewers, Carson Beck, Jaxson Dart, Drew Allar, and Conner Weigman.