NFL reporter Albert Breer doesn’t think that Malik Willis is likely to see much playing time this season for the Tennessee Titans.
This year’s draft class wasn’t exactly famed for its apparent level of talent when it came to the quarterback position, best exemplified by the fact that only one went in the top 50, and four in the top 100, whereas previous years have seen that many go in the top ten alone.
But even so, given the importance of quarterbacks and how some teams around the league seemed like they needed to bring in a new one, it was strange to see players like Malik Willis fall down the draft before finally being picked up by the Tennessee Titans.
He was eventually grabbed in the 3rd round with the #86 pick where it is believed he will be brought in to serve as an understudy and eventual successor to 33-year-old Ryan Tannehill, who is currently under contract until 2024.
Not too big a change of pace
Willis and Tannehill aren’t too dissimilar when it comes to their skillset, as they are both able to make plays with their feet, with Tannehill having put up 24 rushing touchdowns throughout his career, including this 45-yard effort against the Packers in 2020:
Meanwhile Willis leans more on the Michael Vick school with his style, using quick speed and changes of direction to shake off his men:
Most rushing yards by a QB since 2020:— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 3, 2022
1. Malik Willis – 2,263
4. Sam Howell – 1,449
5. Matt Corral – 1,342pic.twitter.com/28nRHHecBM
And with both men having impressive arms under their belt too, it doesn’t seem like it would be too big of a transition for them to move from one to the other, however according to Albert Breer, he doesn’t expect to see Willis take that first big step this season.
Focused on the present, not the future
Writing in his mailbag column for SI.com, Breer praised Lewis for what he had done so far and that he thinks he can go far, but did claim, barring injury, if Willis was on the field for the Titans this season, it would mean that something had gone horribly wrong for them:
“I think if Malik Willis is starting, absent injury, it would mean something has really gone wrong for the Titans. And that’s no affront to Willis—who has real potential.
“Looks to me like the Titans have a very tightly wound situation around an older core, that would be complicated to unspool for a developmental quarterback. I’m definitely not saying Willis hasn’t gotten off to a good start. By all accounts, he’s a good kid and came off as sharp in predraft meetings, so progress should be expected. But his starting point says he’s got a long way to go, which I think would make for an awkward on-field fit in 2022 with a team that’s pretty close.”
Which does make sense, the Titans have been close to breaking through these past few years, making the playoffs in 4 of the last 5 and reaching the AFC Championship in 2019, so for them to hand the keys to a quarterback who still needs time to develop would be an odd move.