Deion Sanders and Shedeur Sanders already set a gripping college football storyline in 2023 after moving from Jackson State to Colorado. However, a later chapter has been set aside for the younger Sanders, who may soon follow his father’s footsteps to the NFL. Is he an NFL Draft prospect worth watching in the years to come?
Who Is Shedeur Sanders?
Many people are curious about Sanders’ aspirations for the NFL Draft. As the son of Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, Shedeur has gained a lot of attention for being a four-star QB recruit in the 2021 class.
However, it’s important to note that Shedeur has succeeded on his own merit as well. During high school, he played a key role in securing multiple state championships. More recently, he led Jackson State to its first Celebration Bowl victory in 2021, earning the SWAC East title in the process.
Shedeur’s individual performance was also recognized, as he won the Jerry Rice FCS National Freshman of the Year award.
In the previous season, his exceptional record-breaking performance earned him the title of SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. He completed 341 of 483 passes (70.6%), throwing for 3,732 yards, scoring 40 touchdowns, and only committing six interceptions.
Now a junior, Sanders will become eligible for the NFL Draft as a true junior in the 2023 season.
Given his impressive track record at JSU and his first two games in 2023, there is speculation about his possibility of declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Sanders’ 2024 NFL Draft Stock Depends Heavily on 2023
Sanders has a strong recruiting pedigree, impressive stats, and numerous individual honors supporting his talent, production, and NFL heritage. However, evaluating his draft status will require a more complex analysis beyond these surface-level factors.
Talent-wise, there’s a lot to like about Sanders, which was reflected during the high school recruiting process. He is a solid runner with a sturdy, athletic frame at 6’2″, 215 pounds. He’s more of a linear runner in space, but he has enough athleticism to work the pocket and extend when needed.
Sanders has impressive arm talent that stands out. Particularly in short-range throws, he can deliver passes with great velocity and has demonstrated the ability to throw with power into tight windows down the field and outside the numbers. Although his arm strength may not be elite, as his deep throws can sometimes fall short, he still possesses ample talent to work with.
Sanders’ potential draft position in the 2024 NFL Draft will mostly rely on his performance at Colorado in 2023. While at Jackson State, he demonstrated his ability to distribute the ball effectively.
The big question about Sanders entering 2023 was whether he could turn the moments of impressive pocket presence and anticipation into a more consistent product. Entering the season, Sanders’ mechanics required extensive improvement.
Through two games, Sanders has checked a lot of boxes that our team needed to see. His mechanics have been more efficient, including a passing motion that no longer begins at his waist and releases well above his head. That was an eyesore delivery that, although worked more often than not, had to be addressed.
His new release is a bit quicker and a lot more repeatable. This has increased its reliability. With less motion throughout, Sanders is confidently delivering passes exactly where he intends to.
Sanders’ natural arm talent also appears more impressive with his mechanical enhancements. He’s been a star making plays while under pressure and outside of the pocket, showing off great arm flexibility and feel for the game. But just as impressive has been his comfort in a new scheme.
New offensive coordinator Sean Lewis has given Sanders the opportunity to show off his ability to digest defenses at a higher level. Sanders has immediately embraced the challenge, manipulating defenders until he has a clear passing lane for him to deliver an accurate pass.
Sanders is making a case for us to completely re-evaluate his upside. A projected mid-round pick entering the year, he is trending toward being a legitimate first-round talent in 2024.
Why Did Shedeur Commit to JSU?
Many people have questioned Sanders’ decision to commit to Jackson State instead of a Power Five program that typically attracts four and five-star recruits.
However, the reason behind his choice is quite simple: family.
Shedeur opted to play for Jackson State because his father became the head coach of the team in 2020. After a successful shortened season, Shedeur was named starting QB in 2021, and his immediate success helped lead Jackson State to an impressive 11-2 record, including an undefeated 8-0 record in the SWAC East.
Sander’s decision to play for Jackson State was based on his close family ties to the program and his familiarity with it, but his excellent performance has shown that it was a risk worth taking for this talented four-star recruit.
Where Is Sanders Now?
After two successful years at Jackson State, Sanders has moved to the FBS Power Five level. He and his father are still a package deal, as they joined the Colorado Buffaloes.
Sanders had built up the Jackson State program before accepting his new position as head coach at Colorado. Several Jackson State players entered the transfer portal soon after, including Sanders himself.
Last December, Sanders made the announcement that he would be transferring to Colorado. He followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Pac-12. The two of them plan to improve the program and potentially take advantage of an expanding CFB playoff field if Sanders does return for his senior campaign next year.
This move could greatly benefit Sanders’ 2024 NFL Draft profile. However, it’s still unclear if he’ll be able to announce his eligibility by the end of this season. He has many tasks to accomplish and skills to demonstrate, but luckily, he’ll receive plenty of assistance from his father and head coach.
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