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2022 NFL Draft

Malik Willis Emphasizes Importance of Patience, Not Forcing Things in Mobile



MOBILE, Ala. — Malik Willis came into the Senior Bowl as a quarterback from Liberty that had unbelievable talent. However, the consistency of his accuracy, mechanics, and play on the field was not clear. While he struggled on Day 1, Willis rebounded on Day 2 to dazzle scouts in the rain.

While he is drawing plenty of interest from teams and the first-round talk continues to heat up in a fervor, Willis’ stock is through the roof. The buzz that is coming out of Mobile about Willis is palpable. Still, coming to show things he did not on his tape, Willis is focusing more on drawing back his aggressive style of decision-making. By doing so, he hopes that he is able to unlock the key that makes him a franchise quarterback in the eyes of teams.

“I’m trying to take what the defense gives us,” Willis said. “If somebody’s in the backfield with me, I’m probably going to try and break it. If it’s a clean pocket, I’m trying to stay in the pocket. I don’t want to have a set thing in my mind, but I just try to play the game of football.”

Willis has drawn plenty of interest from the Steelers thus far. While he doesn’t know much about the team, his play is going to put him right in their eyes. Other teams will be waiting in the wings as well, and Willis is taking all the pressure put on him with the other quarterbacks in stride.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” Willis said. “I think there’s a lot even when you’re a guy who can even possibly be taken in the NFL Draft. It’s about the opportunity. I am happy for it regardless.”

Recently, Willis has been breaking down some NFL tape of quarterbacks and defenses. He is trying to get comfortable in their schematic differences and the nuances it brings. To do so, Willis has been studying quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan to help prepare for the moment.

“I’m studying Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, all of those guys,” Willis said. “Russ has a great deep ball and the touch on his deep passes is something I look up to. Rodgers’ and his crazy arm angles as well as his ability to extend the play without running for a lot of yards. Then, Matt Ryan’s anticipation. I just try to focus on the little aspects and apply it to my game.”

If Willis can put together another strong practice on Thursday, he may come out of the Senior Bowl with a leg up of sorts on the competition. Still, the quarterback class is a jumbled mess, and it plays out that way as well.