Bijan Robinson was lauded as a generational prospect last year. Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Pitts were slapped with the same title three years ago. Since 2017, Chase Young, Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, Myles Garrett, and Leonard Fournette also were held in similar regard. That’s eight can’t-miss, slam-dunk prospects in seven years.. Do you think the term might get thrown around too much? After all, a few of the players mentioned above did not nearly live up to the sky-high expectations set out for them (and a few others appear to be heading down that same path).

This year, we are blessed with two ‘generational prospects’ in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Caleb Williams. However, with the recent success rate of their fellow can’t-miss prospects, I’d argue we should hold off on using that term. There are elite prospects, and Harrison Jr. and Williams certainly fit that billing, but the term ‘generational’ is just blatantly incorrect. In fact, I would argue that the designation actually contributed to the downfall of many of the names mentioned above (on top of many otherworldly prospects before them).

Comparisons can be fun. Players will always be tethered to others in the class throughout their careers. However, when comparing prospects to established pros, those projections can also set up players for failure. I understand that most comparisons between prospects and pros represent what someone can become as opposed to what they ‘probably will’ become, but something still feels wrong about comparing players to the best players in NFL history, which is common practice with these highly rated prospects.

Williams has drawn countless comparisons to Patrick Mahomes throughout his collegiate career. On the surface area, the connection makes sense. Williams has shown a knack for making miraculous plays and combines rare arm talent with the added ability to beat defenders with his legs. However, there are a few significant differences between the two players. First off, Mahomes was not considered a generational talent in the 2017 NFL Draft. In fact, he regularly got mocked in the late first and second round and many thought the Chiefs over-valued him when they traded up to select him with the tenth pick. Absolutely no one expected him to become what he has.

Another major difference between the two? Simply put, Mahomes is the one of one. He’s reached Paul Bunyan status and has already entered the G.O.A.T. conversation. The fact that he landed in a perfect situation in Kansas City cannot be understated, but we have reached the point where what he has done can also not be downplayed. He took a receiver room completely devoid of talent outside of Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice and ran the gauntlet against four of the league’s most well-rounded rosters.

I want to be clear: I’m not a former scout for the New York Jets (IYKYK). I am not in the business of downgrading blue-chip players just to stand out from the crowd and stir up engagement. This article is not about throwing cold water on Caleb Williams the prospect. He has all the tools to be one of the league’s best quarterbacks and is well worth the number-one pick. However, my stance is about being realistic. Many expect him to become the next Mahomes based on pre-draft evaluations, and that is a dangerous game to play.

The fact of the matter is the draft is a crapshoot. No one knows how players will translate to the pros. On top of being downright inaccurate (how many generations do we experience in a decade?), tagging a prospect as ‘generational’ sets them up for unrealistic and unfair expectations right out of the gate. Likewise, the term loses its luster when it gets thrown around every year. Nevertheless, chances are it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It is deep-rooted with the sensationalism that comes with the draft season. However, I firmly believe it is one of the most egregious aspects of the offseason, and it only sets players up for disappointment.

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