College: Liberty | Rookie
Height: 6'1" | Weight: 215 lbs
Birth Date: 5/25/1999
Depth Chart: QB.2
2022 Bye Week: 6
Total Pts: 0
Avg Pts: 0
|No Playoff Match Up|
The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with rookie third-round quarterback Malik Willis on his four-year rookie deal on Saturday. Willis will now be able to report for training camp this summer. Tennessee is hoping that he'll be the next franchise signal-caller, but he's likely to enter his rookie season as the No. 3 QB for the Titans behind Ryan Tannehill and Logan Woodside. The 23-year-old is raw and struggled with accuracy and decision-making at Liberty in college. However, his athleticism and skills aren't in question, so the Titans are hoping to develop him into a starter over time. Unless Tannehill misses extended time with injury in 2022, there's a good chance we won't see Willis on the field at all this year.
ESPN.com's Turron Davenport gives a 75% chance that Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis sits all season behind Ryan Tannehill in 2022. Barring injury or some kind of catastrophic failure, Tannehill will take the bulk of the snaps this year. The Titans are taking a ground-up approach with Willis, first getting him used to calling plays in the huddle and working from under center. QB coach Pat O'Hara has also worked extensively with Willis to make adjustments to his mechanics to improve his accuracy. Tannehill has started every game since taking over as the starter in Week 6 of 2019, and the team is still in win-now mode. The Titans have loved what they've seen from Willis so far this offseason, but he remains a work in progress, so he should only be selected in dynasty/keeper drafts this fall.
Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis isn't in a competition with Ryan Tannehill right now, and he won't be breathing down Tannehill's neck to win the starting job in training camp either. Willis' mission is to learn and improve as much as possible in his first days, weeks and months on the job. With that said, the former Liberty signal-caller is an intriguing QB prospect because of his arm and legs. He was mostly accurate in rookie minicamp practices, displayed his strong arm and fit the ball into tight spaces. As expected, Willis had a few bad throws as well and had some issues taking snaps. His technique clearly needs some work, but he'll certainly be a coveted dynasty league prospect in fantasy as he develops the next couple of seasons.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill reacted rather coldly when asked about working alongside third-round rookie quarterback Malik Willis, the presumed starting QB of the future in Tennessee. "We're competing against each other, we're watching the same tape, we're doing the same drills. I don't think it's my job to mentor him, but if he learns from me along the way, then that's a great thing," Tannehill said. It's not the first time an incumbent QB hasn't warmly welcomed an incoming rookie signal-caller with open arms, and it won't be the last. Tannehill took a slight step back in 2021, throwing for 3,734 yards, 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on 531 attempts over 17 regular season games, and it didn't help that running back Derrick Henry missed a big chunk of the season with a foot injury. The Titans traded top wideout A.J. Brown and replaced him with rookie Treylon Burks. Tannehill still has weapons, but in this run-first offense, he'll be a low-end QB1, at best.
The Titans selected Liberty quarterback Malik Willis during the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. It took longer than anticipated. However, the 22-year-old, taken with the 86th overall pick, will now head to Tennessee, where he is expected to develop under veteran signal-caller Ryan Tannehill. Willis finished his final collegiate season by throwing for 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 12 picks. He also displayed the ability to get things done on the run by narrowly missing the 1,000-yard mark over the last two seasons while adding 27 more rushing touchdowns to his resume. Nonetheless, it will take some time for the former Flame to get acclimated to things professionally, so he likely won't draw much interest from fantasy managers, primarily since he probably won't start right away during the 2022-23 campaign, if at all. Julio Jones and A.J. Brown are also no longer with the team, so that won't do Willis any favors either.
The first round of the 2022 NFL draft is in the books and only one quarterback, Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, was selected. This was just the second time over the last 20 years that only one signal-caller was drafted in the first round. As a result, ESPN's draft team projects a run on quarterbacks in the second round of the draft on Friday night. Liberty quarterback Malik Willis is projected to be the next quarterback off the board and he could go quite early in Round 2. UNC's Sam Howell figures to be next after that, but others such as Matt Corral from Ole Miss and Carson Strong from Nevada could be in the mix as well.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein released the fourth edition of his 2022 NFL mock draft on Thursday morning. In the mock draft, he has the Pittsburgh Steelers trading up to pick No. 17 to take the first and only quarterback in the first round, Malik Willis from Liberty. The Steelers most definitely are in need for a new franchise signal-caller following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger. Right now, Mitch Trubisky is the top quarterback on the team's depth chart with Mason Rudolph behind him. The Steelers have the 20th pick in the first round of the draft and then don't pick again until 52nd overall. We'll see if they wind up using one of those picks on a quarterback or if they indeed trade up like Zierlein predicts.
An anonymous NFL quarterbacks coach compared Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts. The same coach also said Willis' arm is "probably top eight in the NFL." "Jalen Hurts, I think, throws it better right now than Malik. More accurately. Has more throws in his arm where he has some touch and can throw with pace. If you're taking Malik, you gotta make it the college offense, and not do the drop back, read the coverage, play it out. To me, it's a square peg, round hole, at least while they're young and really learning," the coach said. Willis' elite arm strength has also been compared to Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, but his accuracy issues raise some concerns. While there are question marks with every signal-caller in this year's draft, Willis unquestionably has the highest fantasy ceiling because of his arm strength and athleticism.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis' cannon of an arm, his running ability and overall playmaking skills make him the top-rated quarterback prospect entering next week's draft over Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett. "There's really one guy that's got true NFL traits," an AFC quarterbacks coach said. "[Willis] can run. He can throw it. It's a once-every-couple-years type of arm -- it's not quite Josh Allen I don't think, but it's damn close. He can create plays. For a 6-foot-tall guy, he doesn't look small, because [he has a thick build]. Good person. Smart. He's an energy-giving type of guy." Willis had 6,929 total offensive yards and 74 total touchdowns in his two seasons as a starter and has the most pure upside heading into the NFL. One NFC coordinator thinks he's a better prospect than 49ers QB Trey Lance or Bears QB Justin Fields.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis continues his tour of NFL teams in the market for a new quarterback this week with a visit to the Detroit Lions on Tuesday and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday, according to sources. The Lions have the second overall pick in this month's draft, while the Steelers pick at No. 20. Detroit continues to say that they are comfortable with Jared Goff, but they also probably wouldn't mind getting a QB for the future. The Lions could also trade down with a team that's hungry for a quarterback. Pittsburgh, who signed Mitchell Trubisky in free agency, also is very much in the QB market, especially after the tragic death of Dwayne Haskins. Willis, although raw, is seen as perhaps the highest-ceiling QB in this year's draft.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press that he believes a team can achieve long-term success without having an elite quarterback. "I think that those guys like that are obviously special," Campbell said. "And they certainly can give you a better chance. But no, I don't believe you have to have one of those guys to have sustained success." The Lions, who currently have Jared Goff as their starting quarterback, hold the second and 32nd picks in the upcoming draft. The team was impressed by Malik Willis and Sam Howell during the Senior Bowl, but it remains to be seen if they'll select a quarterback early this year. Campbell asserted that Detroit is definitely looking for "a Day 1 starter" at the top of the draft.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis will continue to visit with NFL teams next week, as he'll meet with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. All of the quarterback-needy teams were checking Willis out at his school's Pro Day, where he looked impressive. The Washington Commanders, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers have also been looking at Willis as they search for their next franchise signal-caller. Landing with the Panthers would probably present Willis with the best opportunity to compete for a starting job in his rookie season. The 22-year-old might have the most pure upside of this year's QB class and is likely to come off the board in the first round.
Liberty quarterback prospect Malik Willis is scheduled to meet with the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons (among others) next week, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Willis has already met with the Steelers, Saints, Giants, and Titans, and that list is only growing. As more teams show interest in the 6-foot-1 signal-caller, it looks increasingly likely that he's drafted with one of the first 10 picks in the draft. Carolina, which selects at No. 6, desperately needs quarterback help after enduring the end of Cam Newton's run and a couple years with players like Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold at the helm. Meanwhile, Atlanta, which picks ninth, traded away Matt Ryan in an effort to move forward with the future of the franchise. The Falcons did sign Marcus Mariota, and he should start in 2022. However, he could be a great mentor for Willis, paving the way for the Liberty product to take over come 2023. Whatever happens, it has become clear that this year's quarterback class is fascinating to watch. It will be quite interesting to see whether the run on quarterbacks in 2022 mirrors past years.
In the opinion of MMBQ's Peter King, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis needs a redshirt year under a smart quarterback coach like Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith in his rookie season in the NFL. Most importantly, Willis needs to be schooled in working his progressions in an offense. If he were to land in Atlanta, he could sit behind Marcus Mariota and learn for a year. Willis is a native of Georgia, and owner Arthur Blank could view him as a perfect long-term franchise signal-caller. The Falcons own the eighth overall pick in this month's draft, and Mariota surely isn't the long-term answer after the club traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. Willis has the most upside of any QB in this year's draft, but he's unlikely to have much redraft fantasy appeal in 2022.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin came away impressed with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. "Really impressive. Sharp, grounded. Comfortable in his skin," Tomlin said. ESPN's Brooke Pryor reported on Sunday that general manager Kevin Colbert said that adding Mitchell Trubisky in free agency doesn't preclude the team from drafting another QB. "We've been at top quarterback Pro Days for the first time in a long time because we may be in a position where we have (a need). Does that mean we're taking one? Possibly," Colbert said. The Steelers are replacing retired Ben Roethlisberger this year, and while Trubisky is likely to start, they could view Willis as their next franchise signal-caller.
Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (ankle) won't throw at the NFL combine this week as he continues to work his way back from an ankle injury that he suffered in the Sugar Bowl, according to a source. Corral resumed light throwing two weeks ago and his plan is to be full-go for his pro day on March 23. Although he won't throw this week, some of the other highly touted QB prospects -- Malik Willis of Liberty and Carson Strong of Nevada -- plan to throw in front of scouts this week. Corral finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2021 and threw for 3,349 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions to lead Ole Miss to a 10-3 season. He also ran for 11 touchdowns despite fighting through a lower-body injury for most of the year.