2022 Draft Profile: Malik Willis

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Malik Willis is a polarizing prospect in this year’s draft class. He has incredible boom or bust potential and could be a generational talent. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes have changed the way scouts evaluate quarterbacks and now if you have elite potential you could be the first quarterback off the board regardless of what the college film says. Willis could go anywhere in the first round and could end up as the best player in the draft class. 

Measurables

Malik Willis
Quarterback, Liberty
– HT: 6’1
– WT: 225 lbs

College Career Stats

– Att: 604
– Cmp: 388
– Pct: 62.8
– Yds: 5176
– TD: 48
– Int: 18

Strengths: 

Athleticism

The minute you pop in the tape, Willis’ athleticism looks unfair against the competition he is facing. This should translate well in the NFL, and he will become one of the best scramblers and designed run quarterback in the league on day one. When on the run he is able to make excellent plays out of structure. 

Arm Strength

Willis has a cannon of an arm, and he is able to use it to fit balls into incredibly tight windows. This mixed with his ability to get out of trouble makes it hard for defenders to cling to receivers. 

Along with being able to play out of structure, he is incredibly efficient in the short game including RPO’s and screens. 

Accuracy

One thing about Willis’ game that will get misconstrued is his arm accuracy. I don’t know why, but a lot of prominent people are labeling Willis’ accuracy as bad or lackluster. After watching him, this couldn’t be any more wrong. Yeah, he doesn’t have the best accuracy ever, but to call it bad is just plain wrong. Willis has enough accuracy that it won’t be a problem for him on the NFL level. His accuracy in the intermediate and deep areas is borderline elite, and that makes his arm strength so much more dangerous.  

Weaknesses:

To start off, I need to preface that Liberty’s offense was extremely one-dimensional, and they ran the same concepts (Flood, stick). This being said, a lot of criticism could just be a product of a lackluster coaching staff. 

One-Read Quarterback 

Malik Willis is simply a one read QB. When watching him, it’s hard to find a play where he takes his eyes off his first read and makes a play outside of structure. His eyes are also always locked into a bad area of the field, for example, Liberty liked to run a “stick” concept out of quads. Malik Willis would always read the side of the field with only one receiver and this would create chaos because when his read wasn’t open he would immediately try to run. 

Out of Structure Playmaking

When on the run, Malik Willis doesn’t keep his eyes downfield and usually will always look to take off. He holds onto the ball way too long and will just blatantly ignore his check downs.  When he does decide to throw after a scramble, he will typically toss it into a tight window or just straight to the defense. Although he has a knack for the “highlight” play, that is what happens when everything works and goes to plan. 

Processing

Willis’ big flaw is his inability to read a defense. He has to see his receiver open before throwing the ball and doesn’t anticipate throws. This inability leads him into making a lot of errant throws that will make any coach go nuts. This will only get harder in the NFL, where coverages change and are designed to fool quarterbacks into mistakes. 

Evaluation

Willis is the most intriguing prospect to come out in years. Some experts think he should go top 10 and others think he’s a late day two guys. Both sides could be right. The way I see Willis is if you believe in your ability to develop a raw quarterback, then he’s worth every penny. He is my QB2 in this class, right behind Carson Strong. The Bucs could take a shot on a guy like this if their board doesn’t fall their way and already have a short term replacement on the roster.

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