2022 NFL Draft: which team will pick quarterback Malik Willis?
No other quarterback in the Draft carries the kind of dual threat offered by Willis, a player in the mould of current NFL QBs such as Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
Twenty years back, NFL teams wanted their quarterbacks to be tall, with a thunderous throwing arm, and with the protection of a pocket offering plenty of physical presence.
In 2022, however, the expectations for what a QB should be able to offer are completely different - which is why Malik Willis of the Liberty Flames could be picked in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Willis a QB with passing and running ability
Willis, who is 6′1″ tall and weighs 219lbs, is the 2022 Draft prospect that most carries the kind of dual threat offered by current NFL stars such as Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. He not only has a powerful arm, but is also blessed with real running ability when the pocket breaks open.
After being backup to Jarret Stidham at the Auburn Tigers in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Willis moved to Liberty, where he was unable to play in 2019 due to NCAA rules relating to transfers.
In two years with the Flames, the quarterback registered magnificent figures: he ran for 1,835 yards and 13 touchdowns from 338 rush attempts, and threw for 5,107 yards, 47 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, with a pass completion percentage of 62.4.
The only blot on his copybook was his tendency to be sacked and lose the ball. In 13 games in 2021, Willis was sacked 51 times; in one game, against Mississippi, he was captured on nine occasions.
NFL teams interested in Willis
Although almost all the teams that are likely to need a quarterback managed to bring one in during the free agency period, the likes of the New Orleans Saints, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons could recruit Willis as a QB option for the future in the first round of the Draft.
There is still belief at the Saints that they can get something out of Jameis Winston; the Steelers will give another opportunity to Mitchell Trubisky as an NFL starter; and the Falcons have sought to reunite Marcus Mariota with head coach Arthur Smith.