2022 NFL Draft Notebook: Questions remain about Malik Willis

2022 NFL Draft - Malik Willis. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
2022 NFL Draft - Malik Willis. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /
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2022 NFL Draft, Malik Willis
2022 NFL Draft, Malik Willis. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest questions going into last weekend was whether Liberty quarterback Malik Willis could outshine Matt Corral and come away as the clear cut number one quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Willis was unable to shine against the Rebels and has left scouts with plenty of questions about his game.

Along with taking a look at some concerns NFL teams still have with Malik Willis this week’s NFL Draft Notebook also takes a look at the following:

  • Whose NFL stock is rising and falling
  • An area where Matt Corral impressed scouts last week
  • Why Kenny Pickett would be an ideal fit in New Orleans
  • And much more

Plenty Left to Prove

Going into last weekend’s game against Ole Miss, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was regarded as one of the top two quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was regarded as a high first-round pick as well, with several mock drafts having Willis going in the top ten of the NFL Draft. Some of these mock drafts included Pro Football Network which had him going seventh overall to Washington and 247 Sports which projected him to go number two to the Houston Texans.

However, he did not live up to this billing vs. the Rebels, throwing three interceptions and for only 173 yards on the day. He also showed several weaknesses that will likely scare scouts away from taking him in the top ten. Some of these concerns included trouble reading defenses, feeling uncomfortable in the pocket and a lack of overall accuracy.

The biggest concern scouts will likely have with Willis is his ability to read defenses. This issue arose in a couple of different ways in his last game including throwing three interceptions on the day, which is the third time in the past five games he has thrown three picks in a game. It also hurt him at times by forcing him to hang onto the ball too long which is one of the reasons he was sacked a total of nine times on the day.

His high sack total raises another question as well which is his poor pocket presence. While part of this has to be put on Liberty’s below-average offensive line, Willis also needs to shoulder some of the blame. For example, on several occasions, he easily could have stepped up in the pocket and found an open receiver but instead panicked and either ran with the ball or took a sack.

The last issue that makes him a risky first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is his lack of overall accuracy. While he has the arm strength to make the highlight throw down the field he lacks the accuracy to deliver in this situation play after play. Part of the reason he struggles with his consistency is his poor footwork, which he will hopefully improve on at the next level.

These questions raise the question of how good of an NFL quarterback he will be at the next level, and the answer to this question all depends on the coach he plays for at the next level. If he can go to a team who is willing to build their offense around him similar to how the Baltimore Ravens changed their style of play to fit Lamar Jackson’s game he will likely become a solid starter in the NFL. However, if he is asked to run a traditional NFL offense he will likely struggle to become a proficient quarterback.