NFL Hot Press: Teams Split on Rattler

Teams Split on Rattler

Updated Dec. 27, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

A few years ago, Spencer Rattler was viewed as a potential high first-round pick after a strong debut as the starting quarterback for Oklahoma. In 2020, Rattler completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for six scores. After losing the job to Caleb Williams in 2021, Rattler transferred to South Carolina. He then had a mixed 2022 season with the Gamecocks, closing out the regular schedule on strong note by leading them to impressive wins over Tennessee and Clemson. For the NFL, some team sources are really high on Rattler, but others do not like him at all.

“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. 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.”

Rattler has completed 67 percent of his passes this season for 2,780 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has also rushed for three touchdowns. The NFL team sources who like Rattler see him as a high-upside pick. They like his big-time arm talent, instincts, athleticism, and irrational confidence. They love Rattler’s ability to ad lib and make plays off script. The big knocks on Rattler are his erratic decision-making and size, as he is listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds. Multiple sources from other franchises were not high on Rattler.

“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.”

“The third round is more realistic for him,” said a different AFC director of player personnel. “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 is facing a tough decision because he could rise for the 2024 NFL Draft with a strong 2023 season. If he enters the 2023 NFL Draft, however, some teams see him as a second-day prospect and others have him even lower. Rattler has the potential to be either one of those quarterback prospects who rises over the draft process or one of those quarterbacks who undergoes a draft-day free fall.