Malik Willis Scouting Report

Malik Willis has some unique qualities to make him great, but also some flaws that could doom his potential. Too many scouts are in love with his great unique qualities, namely his strong arm and athleticism, while ignoring the flaws in his game.

There is no denying his strong attributes. But the fact he had to transfer from Auburn to Liberty should be a major red flag for anyone. The QB’s supposedly better than Willis? TJ Finley and Bo Nix. While both of these QB’s are intriguing specimens (Finley especially, who reminds me of Daunte Culpepper), Nix had to transfer to Oregon to remain a starter. But that leaves the question about Willis. At least Oregon is a semi-respectable football program. Why did Willis end up at Liberty? That was the best he could do?

Therein lies a lot of the problem with judging Willis: The level of competition he faced on the tapes is deplorable. Sure he can run…against Old Dominion? Troy? Let him run out of the pocket against Tampa Bay and see how long he lasts.

Willis has to be granted his strong arm, but can he read defenses? Can he handle pocket pressure? Jamarcus Russell had a strong arm too, and we know how well that went.

Willis threw some bad balls in college against lame competition. How will he do at the next level?

Mind you, I am not saying Willis has no chance of success. But QB’s like Kenny Pickett and Matt Corral have shown a lot more than Willis has. Unless Willis ends up with a great QB coach, he is worthless.

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Interesting analysis. Willis is one of the few players I scouted myself so far.

College QB tape always has a few pitfalls. It’s easy to find absolute highlights for pretty much any college QB, but there are indeed questions that need to be asked. How did the defense act? How long did the pocket hold? Did the QB have to go through multiple reads?

If you get 5+ seconds in a stable pocket and your speedster WR is able to easily outrun CBs and even safeties, then throwing a 50+ yd TD pass isn’t as stellar an achievement as it may look. Still, kudos if you can throw it on a dime, which Willis absolutely can. I rarely saw WRs having to make adjustments. But (and that’s a big ‘but’): in the NFL you will not often get 5+ seconds in the pocket. And your WRs usually don’t gain separation so easily.

What I like about Willis, aside from his arm, is how he acts under pressure. He keeps his head up, reacts quickly to developing situations and is able to release the ball quickly, when needed. That gives me some hope he may be able to adjust to NFL speed levels.

But I found hardly any highlights where he had to go through multiple reads. Most of his tape consists of snaps where Liberty had a plan, and it worked. Won’t happen in the NFL, no matter what team he’ll end up playing for.

I’m not saying I don’t like his decision making. I just say I saw far too few situations where he had to make any difficult decisions under pressure.

And his running - yeah, he’s shifty. But most of his rushing highlights spoke of atrocious run defenses, rather than a unique skill set.

Willis was definitely a big fish in a small pond. But how big can he be in the big pond? It’s really hard to tell. The potential is there, and I still am somewhat optimistic about him. It’s always hard to predict which QBs will be able to adjust to the level of speed the game takes place at in the NFL. Many highly praised names from big colleges have failed at it.

He’s showing good basic skills, that go way beyond his rushing upside. If he ends up in Carolina or Pittsburgh, I’d give him a shot. He will need a lot of refining, though, and there is no guarantee he’d become the franchise QB for either of both teams. So unless you are super QB needy in an SFLEX league, I’d probably not spend the 1.01 on him.

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