Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis showed everyone why he perhaps should have been taken a little bit higher in the draft with his preseason display.
This year’s draft class wasn’t exactly famed for its apparent level of talent when it came to the quarterback position, perhaps 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 it felt as if some teams around the league needed to bring someone in, whether that be for an immediate fix or to be ‘groomed’ to take over in the future, it was strange to see players like Malik Willis fall so far down the draft before finally being picked up by the Tennessee Titans.
Willis you would imagine will fall into the latter category of why and where he was drafted, as you would imagine he will be brought in to serve as an understudy and possibly the eventual successor to 34-year-old Ryan Tannehill.
A lot of adjusting still to be done
It’s true that Willis did put up some rather impressive numbers whilst in college at Liberty, passing for over 5,000 yards and 47 touchdowns whilst also rushing for an additional 1,822 yards and 27 touchdowns, but some of that might have been down to the opposition that they were playing, as Liberty doesn’t exactly have the toughest schedule as a result of their conference affiliation.
As a result, in the last two years he was playing college football, they only had to take on two teams that were ranked inside the top 25, and only five games against opponents from the ‘Power 5’ conferences, and as a result he might not be ready to make the jump straight away to the NFL level.
But in his first preseason game, he certainly showed that he’s making progress in the right direction.
A dazzling debut
The Titans took on the Baltimore Ravens last night in what was the first preseason game of 2022 for both sides, giving a lot of rookies their first chance to show what they can do at an NFL level, even if it was against a lot of 2nd, 3rd or even 4th string players.
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some exciting plays, as Willis demonstrated with an incredible run during the second quarter as he danced away from a number of Ravens defenders in the pocket, and managed to hold off the advances of another two near the endzone before crossing over the score:
Now the Ravens would go on to win the game by a score of 23-10, but with that one play there, you get the feeling that Willis is already showing signs of being able to do something special in this league. The only question is how long we’re going to have to wait until we can see it on the real stage rather than just in preseason.