The PFF team discusses the Tennessee Titans selection of Liberty QB Malik Willis in the 3rd Round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
- Again, the Tennessee Titans have traded pick 90 and 169 up to 86, so popping up four spots there. Titans pick-- I haven't seen it, so I don't think that it is in yet. But--
- I have seen it.
- I think it's g-- wow.
- Here we go.
- I still haven't seen it.
- It's a quarterback.
- I'm going to wait. I'm going to wait till you see--
- I haven't seen it yet.
- I'm going to wait.
- I haven't seen it yet.
- I'm going to wait until he see it. I'm going to wait.
- What if my computer was frozen right now, and you waited for, like, a hour?
- It's Malik Willis.
- I can't wait for this technology anymore. It is Malik Willis to the Tennessee--
- Tennessee Titans.
- I heard whispers of Malik Willis going to the Tennessee Titans in the first round. They get him here all the way back into the third. That's pretty incredible.
- It's-- it's kind of what I said, like, you know, half an hour ago, which is, like, all of a sudden you're going to get a run on quarterbacks, as backups, with-- with starters already in place at this team, where this is-- this is a perfect scenario for Malik Willis.
- I like this a lot.
- You can learn behind a player who is very different than what you are. This is-- Ryan Tannehill is a pocket passer. Obviously, he has some speed. We know that. But he's a pocket passer. He has great footwork. He gets the ball off on time. You can learn a lot, if you're Malik Willis, from-- from Ryan Tannehill. Malik Willis has all the tools you want. He can throw the ball far. If he comes into the league now as the second best running ba-- Jesus-- as the second best runner at quarterback, you know, after--
- He said it, not us.
- --after Lamar Jackson. But the concerns are he just-- his process is-- is not very good right now. He's not seeing the field very well. He's not finding the open receiver at-- at probably the lowest rate in this draft class. So work on your game with Ryan Tannehill and that coaching staff, and hopefully you come out as a better player.
- Yeah, and his feet just get far too panicky in the pocket. First thing's not there, and it's-- there's no readjustment. It is just break down and start to be an athlete. And he's one heck of an athlete. I mean, 6 foot, 222. He's probably the closest thing I've seen at the quarterback position come out to an actual running back, you know, because that build and the fact that he broke more tackles than Kenneth Walker last year. He led the FBS in broken tackles. So he's a value add from that perspective, and I'd argue he has a high floor because of that. Like, compare him to Jalen Hurts coming out. I would rather have Malik Willis every day because of that. But the sack production or the sort of taking sacks-- he took a ton-- 51-- this past year. 30% sack conversion rate, that's like three times what the elite guys in the NFL are at. And--
- And that's Tannehill, too, though. Similar to Tannehill.
- [INAUDIBLE] degree. But the big time throws, the big plays, what he can create-- third highest big time throw rate we've ever charted here at PFF, number two in the college era. Number two on that list was Josh Allen, so that's what you're buying into. That's what could be toolswise brings to the table. But 77.4 passing grade was his highest, and that was last year.
- We've got the Arizona Cardinals on the clock, but I do want to continue to talk about Malik Willis. The thing that I think is the most encouraging note for Malik Willis is that that Liberty offensive line was awful. It's-- it was one of the worst, if not probably the worst that I have seen from the draft eligible quarterbacks. And when you talk about the lack of being able to navigate a pocket, having terrible footwork when he's bailing and getting to a different side, going through progressions, running a real offense, he was never going to be able to do that at Liberty. That offensive line was terrible.
So you're hoping better offensive line in front of him. Now he gets to sit behind Ryan Tannehill, which is very nice. This is a good situation because this is always going to be a team, as long as Mike Vrabel is there, that's going to emphasize offensive line play. Like, they are going to continue to throw resources into the offensive line. They're not going to be babies up front. And so I don't think it's ever going to get too far away from him, but that's kind of the faith that I have with Malik Willis.
- Let's stick with Willis for a little bit here, too. Are we surprised that the NFL didn't try to buy into his tools a little bit sooner? Because all the-- all the warts might be there. But the recency bias of, Patrick Mahomes wasn't polished. Lamar Jackson improved as a passer. Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, everybody that has a cannon or great tools or something has progressed recently. Trey Lance-- completely different prospect but still went number three last year and had types of question marks-- similar types of question marks.
And I like how you're saying it, Mike. Run-- quarterbacks who you can build the run game around them are higher floor players because you can have that type of offense where you don't have to have precision passing. You can still move the ball in a different style in the NFL. So are we a little surprised that the NFL didn't invest in that a little bit earlier in this draft?
- My-- my thing with the tools is when you compare him to all those guys you mentioned, who became really good passers kind of after college to a certain degree, it's the height. It's, like, he-- can he-- is he too Russell Wilsony, where he's just not going to target the middle of the field? All those other guys, they've developed because they-- they can handle everything that's-- they can see everything that's in front of them. I don't know-- now, it's partly the-- his lack of throws over the middle of the field are partly himself and partly the Liberty offense. This is what Hugh Freeze has done for a long time in his career, so I get that. But that would be my concern because, like you said, the elite tools are there, with him. It's just, is the height not allowing him to access the entire field?