NFL draft: Liberty QB Malik Willis lands with Titans in 3rd round

·2-min read

The Tennessee Titans have their Ryan Tannehill succession plan. It's a fun one.

With the 86th overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft, the Titans selected Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, ending a Day 2 slide for the talented passer.

Willis was emotional when his name was called, to say the least.

In Willis, the Titans are getting a quarterback Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm described as a "nuclear-grade arm talent" and and an explosive athlete built like a power running back. Simply put, no quarterback in this draft can throw as far as Willis or run as effectively.

That kind of talent had Willis as the co-favorite to go second overall in the draft at one point, but he was eventually the primary victim of a collective shrug from NFL teams at this year's QB class. Only Pitt's Kenny Pickett was selected in the first round, and he was still the only QB off the board when the third round began.

Willis at least had some fun while waiting to get the call:

Now, Willis will join a Titans team facing an upheaval following the shocking A.J. Brown trade. Tennessee used the 18th overall pick it got in return to draft Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks, who should slot in as the team's direct Brown replacement.

The Titans' plans for Willis be a little less urgent. They still have veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill under contract for two more seasons, but with no guaranteed money in 2023. That gives them plenty of time to refine Willis, which seems like an ideal plan for a quarterback with a sky-high ceiling.

After transferring from Auburn, Willis posted 2,857 passing yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his final season at Liberty, adding 878 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

Malik Willis has huge talent in the air and on the ground. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Malik Willis has huge talent in the air and on the ground. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)