NFL Analysis


7 min read

2025 NFL Draft: Can Shedeur Sanders Be Next Year's Top Pick?

Upper body image of Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders with the ball in his hands, looking downfield to throw. He's in a white jersey and black helmet
Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) throws the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the first half at Rose Bowl. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

It will be a while before we see another quarterback class like the one in the 2024 NFL Draft. Six quarterbacks were selected in the top 12 picks, and three came off the board with the first three selections.

In most drafts, Jayden Daniels (No. 2) and Drake Maye (No. 3) would be sure-fire No. 1 overall picks, but not this year. It was one of the best and deepest quarterback classes in recent memory.

Teams that missed out on quarterbacks this year will turn their attention to 2025 and will likely be disappointed. There isn't a Caleb Williams-level prospect or a Drake Maye-type prospect.

However, one player who received a ton of attention last year was Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders. Outside of being Deion Sanders' son, Shedeur had a huge year in his first season with the Buffaloes, completing more than 69 percent of his passes and throwing 27 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Colorado averaged 28.2 points per game, a massive increase from 2022 (15.4 PPG).

Right now, Sanders is the favorite to be the No. 1 overall selection (+100 on DraftKings) in the 2025 NFL Draft. But is that warranted?

Let's examine Sanders to see if he really could be the first player picked in next year's draft.

Shedeur Sanders' Scouting Report

From a scouting perspective, there is a lot to like about Sanders the prospect.

He has good size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and is athletic and elusive in the open field. Sanders doesn't use his speed as a runner (yet), but that is the next stage of his progression because he was primarily a pocket passer in 2023.

His greatest strength is passing from the pocket, making him an intriguing prospect. His footwork isn't perfect, but he has sound technique and is more than comfortable moving around the pocket to avoid pressure.

One of his biggest strengths is his ability to stand tall during chaos and make throws, something most NFL quarterbacks still struggle with.

But that can also be his downfall because he takes way too many sacks (50 times in 11 games).

To compare, Williams was sacked 36 times in 12 games last season, which was far too many. If Sanders can clean that up during the 2024 season, there really won't be many flaws in his game as a passer.

Sanders is hyper-accurate on short to intermediate passes — Colorado's offense spammed the middle of the field last season. He knows how to throw with touch and can use his arm talent to drive the ball to the sideline. In every game he played, there were multiple NFL throws that must have made scouts giddy.

The No. 1 reason Sanders has a chance to go high in next year's draft is he seems to play better when it matters most. In the team's opening game against TCU, Colorado scored touchdowns on its last three possessions (not including kneel-downs) to defeat the No. 17 Horned Frogs.

Two weeks later, Sanders led Colorado on a 98-yard touchdown drive against Colorado State after getting the ball down eight points with just 2:06 left on the clock. The drive's biggest play was a 45-yard touchdown pass on second-and-14 with only 46 seconds left.

That put Colorado in a position to tie the game on a 2-point conversion, which the team converted.

Colorado won the game in double overtime after Sanders threw back-to-back touchdowns.

Anytime the Buffaloes were in a close game, Sanders always seemed to make the play to help them win. That is one of the most difficult attributes to find in a franchise quarterback: Can they make big-time plays when the team needs them the most? For the better part of 2023, the answer was a resounding yes for Sanders.

Where Can Shedeur Sanders Improve?

For Sanders to contend for the No. 1 pick, he must show off his running ability more. He finished the 2023 season with -77 rushing yards and four touchdowns. A lot of the negative yardage was due to the 50 sacks he took, another critical area he has to clean up this year.

His willingness to stand tall in the pocket is admirable, but he needs to show that he can escape dirty pockets and prove he can be a threat as a runner. No one is saying he needs to be the next Jayden Daniels, but if Sanders can keep defenses honest with his legs, he'll be a much better quarterback because of it.

Due to a back injury, he was unable to finish the season, and he took a lot of hits last year. Scrambling out of pressure and avoiding being sacked as often should be priority No. 1 for him this year.

If Sanders can do all that and maintain his passing production, there is no reason he shouldn't be considered the draft's top quarterback. He has the best combination of size, accuracy, arm talent and feel for the game of all the quarterbacks in this class. And that was with only one season of D1 college football under his belt.

It's only fair to expect him to improve with more playing time.

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders drops back to throw. He's in a white uniform and black helmet and is the only player in frame with the crowd blurry behind him
Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) throws the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the first half at Rose Bowl. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Final Word

Sanders has all the traits to be the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, and it wouldn't shock anyone if that ends up being the case. But if he isn't the first quarterback off the board, it likely won't be due to his ability.

There are some looming questions about how he will make the transition to the NFL after being coached by his dad. Several incidents on social media in the past few days could scare teams. Just this week, Sanders criticized a former teammate on Twitter (X), which was not well-received by many around the sports world.

While this incident is minor in the grand scheme of things, it will be something teams remember during the draft process. Most front offices prefer their franchise quarterback to be off social media altogether, so these types of interactions certainly won't be looked upon well by NFL teams. In fact, Sanders' odds of being the No. 1 picked recently dropped because of these Twitter comments.

Plus, there have been some rumblings Deion will try to prevent certain teams from selecting Shedeur early in next year's draft. No one knows exactly which teams Deion would prefer his son not to be drafted by, but the fact that this rumor is even out there might make teams a little nervous about selecting Shedeur.

We will see if that is even the case — Deion shot down "some" of those rumors — but there could be franchises that don't want to deal with the Deion Sanders experience. Whether that is right or wrong is debatable, but teams will undoubtedly not like the unnecessary drama and attention that might come with selecting Deion's son.

The draft process can be ruthless and, honestly, unfair to quarterback prospects. As we saw at times this year with Williams, nothing is out of bounds for high-profile prospects. That is expected to be the case this year with Sanders, who might be college football's biggest star entering the year.

Time will tell how that process unfolds, but make no mistake: Sanders has the talent and traits to be the 2025 NFL Draft's No. 1 pick.