NFL Hot Press: Love/Hate Rattler Has Buzz

Love/Hate Rattler Has Buzz

Updated July 20, 2023
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Late in 2022, South Carolina made some noise with back-to-back wins over top-10 teams in Tennessee and Clemson to close out the regular season for the Gamecocks. The South Carolina offense found its stride under quarterback Spencer Rattler, putting up some huge point totals, including 63 on Tennessee, 31 on Clemson, and 38 on Notre Dame in the bowl game. Rattler threw for 10 touchdowns and ran for another over those final three games. Rattler had the option to enter the 2023 NFL Draft, so NFL teams were evaluating him in case he came out, and he was a very polarizing player with sources. In the past week, multiple NFL team sources told that they are interested in Rattler and are excited to see how he develops this season and are doing more work on him in preseason study.

“He does some special things on tape,” said an AFC director of player personnel this July. “There is no denying he has a skill set and an ability to ad lib some big plays. He has things he needs to clean up, but I’m intrigued with him.”

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Rattler has athleticism and arm talent, but he was a streaky player at Oklahoma, which led to him getting benched for Caleb Williams and Rattler transferring to South Carolina. Last December, some NFL team sources shared with that were projecting him to the second day of the draft, but other sources did not like Rattler as a prospect at all.

“No, I don’t like him,” said an NFC director of player personnel. “It is hard for me to see someone take him in the top three rounds to be honest. I don’t like the kid or the tape.”

Others felt differently based on Rattler’s skill set.

“Rattler has things you can’t teach,” said an AFC director of player personnel. “He has a big arm and has been really accurate this year [2022]. His decision-making is all over the place, but if there is a guy in this [draft] that could be something like Pat Mahomes, it’s him.”

“The third round is more realistic for him,” said a difference AFC director of player personnel last December. “He took a step back being in a real offense this year compared to where he was as a freshman, because he didn’t learn crap at Oklahoma. That won’t help him up on the board with teams either because he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. He learned very little ball there, but he played a lot better there because he didn’t have to think. He looked like Tony Romo in Oklahoma, but struggled this year. He’s a very small man. The kid wants to stay, but the dad wants him to come out for ego-sake.”

Rattler made a wise decision to return to school as his stock for the 2024 NFL Draft could rise off a strong 2023 season. While he is a polarizing player, it only takes one team to fall in love, and Rattler has ability that has a number of team evaluators very intrigued with him for the next level.