On paper, Liberty QB Malik Willis may wow teams with his big arm or dynamic athleticism. But during this past week’s NFL Combine, he was reportedly just as impressive in the meeting room.
Multiple reports indicate Willis did well in his formal meetings with teams, displaying his football IQ and personality well to the NFL. Here’s a couple examples of those reports starting with one from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
Malik Willis has been blowing teams away with his interviews at the combine, too. It's a continuation of his impressive Senior Bowl week. Of the teams I've spoken to, the overwhelming majority believe he's got the highest ceiling of the QBs in this draft class.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 3, 2022
As his tweet ends, Willis is widely believed to have the highest ceiling of anyone in this class. While more raw than say, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, his arm strength and big-play ability as a thrower and runner fits the modern-day NFL well. He may not be a day one starter, but has the potential to be a long-term starter.
Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson wrote a similar report on Willis’ week.
“There’s little doubt that Malik Willis solidified his standing as the potential QB1 of the 2022 NFL Draft this week. From the moment he walked into Lucas Oil Stadium, the Liberty quarterback impressed everyone he spoke with. Of course, it was Willis’ actions outside of the 2022 NFL Combine that drew the eyes of the media, with his interaction with someone less fortunate than himself displaying the man behind the prospect.”
That report is referring to Willis giving Combine gear to a homeless man on the street outside of the Combine, a clip that went viral.
Was having lunch yesterday and saw one of the Combine guys helping out someone on some hard times…@malikwillis being great even when nobody is watching. How can you not be a fan of this guy? pic.twitter.com/BmFzUM66NU
— Ryan Lacey (@rlacey23) March 3, 2022
Though there is no clear-cut top quarterback in this class, Willis is the most likely name to be the first quarterback drafted later this April. When and where he’ll go is a bigger mystery. But given his talent and demand at the position, it’s difficult seeing him last to the Steelers’ pick at #20. If Pittsburgh has interest, and every report indicates they do, they will likely need to trade up at least several spots to acquire him.
Teams picking ahead of Pittsburgh who may be in the market for a quarterback include the Lions (#2), Texans (#3), Giants (#5, #7), Panthers (#6), Falcons (#8), Broncos (#9), Commanders (#11), and Saints (#18). The Commanders are reportedly being especially aggressive about acquiring a top quarterback this offseason.