"Raw potential" is an easy way to describe Malik Willis, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. After starting his college career at Auburn, Willis transferred to Liberty where he blossomed into one of the country's top dual-threat signal-callers. A threat to make things with his arm or his leg, Willis definitely has the skill set that NFL teams are looking for in a quarterback but he's far from a finished product. Still, the overall package is appealing enough that some team could wind up taking Willis in the first round.
(This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2022 NFL Draft Guide. With in-depth scouting reports on the top prospects, position rankings, and more, no source will have you better prepared for draft day. Purchase a copy online today, the digital edition for instant access, or look for it on newsstands everywhere.)
Malik Willis Draft Profile
A power thrower and a threat to do damage with his legs, Willis checks all the boxes for a modern NFL quarterback. He threatens the defense vertically and horizontally with his legs as well as his off-platform throwing ability. His touch downfield and outside the numbers is very good, and he will fill highlight reels with his ability to extend plays and launch accurate throws. He has the sturdy build of a running back and packs plenty of twitch and power as a runner. He has the speed to pick up chunks of yards, but he flashes impressive power in tight areas, making him especially effective in the red zone. Liberty used him heavily on designed power.
Willis is accurate to all levels when his feet are set and his read is clear, but things get interesting — and not always in a good way — when he has to move through his progressions. He wasn’t asked to do much as far as full-field reads in Liberty’s offense, and he was often reliant on natural playmaking. Even when just going through progressions before he moves, he too often gets sloppy with his mechanics; more problematically, when he misses, he misses high. Even though it doesn’t show up in his stat line, there’s an element of recklessness to his game that will need to be toned down at the next level.
He’s a bit like a poor man’s Trey Lance, although three inches shorter. He isn’t quite in Lance’s class in terms of arm talent, and he’s even more raw coming into the NFL, but the playmaking makes clear that the potential is there. He could break into the league as more of a change-of-pace gadget quarterback, but it will take the right coaching staff to make him consistent enough to be a quality starter.
Final Grade: 2nd/3rd Round