Malik Willis, QB, Liberty: 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report

2022 NFL mock draft, Malik Willis. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
2022 NFL mock draft, Malik Willis. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Former Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis is one of the most unique and intriguing quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.


Name: Malik Willis

Position: QB

School: Liberty

Height: 6’1

Weight: 225 pounds

What makes sports so exciting are the unknowns. We can memorize, analyze and hypothesize, but the truth is it’s hard to be certain about anything in the sports realm. Few events encapsulate this idea better than the NFL Draft. Teams will spend months working tirelessly to analyze every aspect of a prospect’s game. Even with such a rigorous process, there are some players that scouts struggle to reach a consensus on.

Perhaps this is what makes former Liberty quarterback Malik Willis such a fascinating prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. He may have the best combination of arm talent and athletic ability seen at the quarterback position since Michael Vick. However, the novelty and rawness of such a prospect make him a complex evaluation.


Willis attended Westlake high school in Atlanta before transferring to Roswell High school in Roswell, Georgia, for his senior year. He rated as a three-star on both 24/7 sports and Rivals in the 2017 class. Due to his athleticism and rushing ability, Willis was primarily recruited as an athlete, and many were unsure where he would play at the next level. Willis committed to Auburn but only threw 14 passes in two seasons and transferred to Liberty, where he would play out the remainder of his collegiate career.


Willis first burst onto the scene during the 2020 season, where he led Liberty to a 10-1 record. Willis threw for 2,250 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions on a 64.2 completion percentage in 2020 and saw 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions on a 61.1 completion percentage in 2021. The passing numbers may have been modest, but what really set Willis apart from the others was his rushing ability. He ran for a total of 1,822 yards and 27 touchdowns in his two seasons in Lynchburg. These numbers are even more staggering when you take into account that lost yardage from sacks is deducted from the quarterback’s rushing totals in college.

Scouting Report

As mentioned before, the biggest strength in Willis’ game is his physical tools. He is the best rusher and may also have the strongest arm of any quarterback in the draft. This gives Willis the ability to make plays that most quarterbacks, even at the NFL level, simply cannot. Willis is able to get the ball all over the field with great velocity. The ball explodes out his hands and helps him make throws into tight windows.

When it comes to evaluating athleticism at quarterback, it’s important to distinguish being fast for a quarterback from being considered fast, regardless of position. Willis is the latter and is one of the most electrifying rushers I’ve seen at the FBS level at quarterback. It is unclear if Willis plans on attending the NFL combine, but if he does, a 40-yard dash time in the 4.4 range shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s hard to find a great pro comparison for Willis’ rushing ability. He probably runs more like Kyler Murray than Lamar Jackson but is considerably bigger at 6’1, 225 pounds.

As one might expect, this rare blend of arm strength and athleticism made Willis a big play waiting to happen. He would regularly extend plays with his feet and uncork bombs deep downfield or would take off as a rusher. This play style has given Willis one of the most exciting highlights reels of any player in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Although Willis is physically capable of making throws to all areas of the field, he can’t always do so accurately. Willis saw his completion percentage dip three whole points from his 2020 to 2021 season. It’s important to point out that Willis would be expected to have a lower completion percentage given the difficulty of many of his throws, but there are just too many instances of him missing open receivers the past two seasons for the issue to not be concerning.

When everything falls into place, the plays Willis is capable of making are truly breathtaking. With that said, his aggressiveness has also backfired on him. When you are capable of making every throw in the book, it’s natural to want to make every throw in the book, and that isn’t always a good thing. Willis would often turn down check downs or rushing lanes to try to throw a ball into tight coverage downfield. This resulted in many splash plays, but it also resulted in a fair amount of turnovers. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Willis comes across as an unintelligent quarterback; he is just overly aggressive. Many of the throws he was able to get away with making at Liberty will result in turnovers at the next level. Being able to generate big plays while also limiting turnover worth throws will be crucial to Willis’ pro-development.

Final thoughts

Malik Willis is one of a kind prospect for better or worse. I’ve seen some people peg him as QB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft and others give him day three grades. There are just too many moving parts to get a consistent read on him. The physical talent is undeniable, but at the same time, that physical talent never led to the eye-popping numbers one would expect, especially against subpar competition. As exciting as Willis is, he is equally raw and unpolished.

Whoever takes Willis shouldn’t draft him to be a day one starter. It would make the most sense for him to sit his rookie season, or at the most, be occasionally used as a gadget quarterback in short-yardage situations. The earliest I would want Willis starting would be the start of the 2023 season.

Where Willis stands in the 2022 NFL Draft right now is largely unknown. The Senior Bowl will tell us more. He is likely too much of a gamble to go early in the first round, but for what it’s worth, the recent success of quarterbacks given the “project” label like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen could help Willis’ standing. The possibilities for Malik Willis are truly endless, and that’s what makes him so exciting in some ways and scary in others, and should make him a player on all scout’s radars come April.