Fans Edge Ad
As FansEdge affiliates we receive compensation for any purchase made through our site.

Malik Willis Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Profile


Quarterback, Liberty Flames, # 7


Malik Willis Measurements

6’ 1” / 225 lbs

Malik Willis 40 Time: 4.37 as a sophomore at Auburn. 


Malik Willis NFL Draft Profile

More and more we see players with former NFL talent in their genealogy. Malik continues this growing tradition. His uncle is James Anderson. Anderson played 11 seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2006. Malik should fully understand what is required of him to play at an NFL level thanks to his uncle’s time in the league.

Malik Willis himself was just a three star recruit out of Roswell High in Atlanta, Ga. He didn’t garner much attention as a QB, but was ranked the 21st best athlete in the nation by 247Sports.

He would originally commit to Virginia Tech, making it look like he would follow the path of his uncle. However, a few months later, he would back out and agree to join the Auburn Tigers.




Liberty QB Malik Willis

QB, Malik Willis at Auburn

During his tenure at Auburn, Willis would secure the back up role to then starter Jarrett Stidham. After two seasons of playing reserve many thought it was time for Willis to shine and take over after Stidham made his way to Patriots via the NFL Draft. However, Auburn would turn to younger options and Willis’ dream of starting for the Tigers was “Nixed!”

Willis would then look to the transfer portal and join coach Hugh Freeze and the Liberty Flames. In 2020, he would start ten games and lead the Flames to an appearance in the Top 25. He compiled 64.2 CMP%, 2,260 yards as well as 20 TDs with 6 INTs. On the ground, Willis showed he was a true mobile QB by adding 944 yards and 14 TDs.

With a strong 2021 almost in the books, Willis has continued to impress with his athleticism and by compiling an almost identical stat line through 10 games. Some would argue he was better last year, and I am one of those people. I know he is a trendy name among scouts and television personalities at the moment, but I believe the hype should die down a bit before the draft.


Malik Willis Strengths


Speed, Speed, Speed

As mentioned above under Malik Willis 40 time, he reportedly ran a 4.37 40 time as a sophomore. He chose not to run the 40 at the combine as well. hopefully we can learn more about Malik Wilis 40 time at his pro day. Many believe he is even faster now, but I’m not so sure. Yes he is fast, but when I see him break away I don’t see the play speed of a Lamar Jackson. Some players can put up great 40 times, but not run quite as fast with pads. Willis does use his legs well to improvise and avoid sacks.

He regularly makes defensive lineman look silly when chasing him behind the line of scrimmage. If he gets a lane, he can bust out 10-15 yard gains very quickly.  If he gets past the second level it is a foot race to see if he can be caught.


Arm Strength

 When Malik Willis decides he wants to zip the ball in there, he can do just that. He has incredible arm strength on outs and deep routes. I would assume as a defender you could hear the ball hissing by your ear when he decides to let it go. I don’t have any questions regarding his ability to make all the throws when he sets his feet correctly.


Ability to Extend Play / Avoid Sack

Willis isn’t only fast, he is incredibly shifty. When it looks like a defender has an easy sack, Willis looks to almost be toying with them. He avoids the sacks often and almost makes it look effortless. I see why some teams are high on him and salivate when thinking about his ability to keep a play alive. In this regard I see some Russell Wilson in him.


Malik Willis Weaknesses


The Deep Ball

I know a lot of people will disagree with me and say he throws bombs, but he misses a lot of them. I watched him miss too many wide open receivers over the top when watching the film. If a QB is being slotted as a top 10 pick, he better not be missing these wide open touchdown passes as often as he does.

Willis tends to not set his feet a lot when making the deep throw. This causes him to not get enough on it and under throw his receiver. I know he has the arm to make the throw, he just needs to clean up the footwork and not rely solely on his arm strength.


Doesn’t Throw Receivers Open


Liberty QB Malik Willis

Liberty QB Malik Willis

I read a lot of scouts saying his doesn’t make progressions well. I actually disagree here. When he has time in the pocket, I see him making his progressions better than I expected. He even keeps his eyes down field and continues looking when he rolls out and escapes defenders.

His problem is the inability to throw receivers open. He doesn’t get the ball out in time, or see that the receiver is going to be open. This leads to him having to run a bit more than we would like to see. I question whether those big runs or throws on the run really needed to happen in the first place.


Lack of Elite Competition

As I noted above, Malik Willis left Auburn to join Liberty. It’s not hard to figure out he is facing lesser competition each week than players like Matt Corral and Sam Howell. The few times he encounters a tough defense, he has struggled this season. Against Ole Miss, an SEC team, he completed only 64% of his passes for 173 yards and 3 INTs with 0 TDs. On the ground in that game he managed only 2.6 yards per carry. I question how he will fare against NFL defenses each week.


Malik Willis NFL Draft Stock

Currently, many media outlets and scouts alike have Willis slated as a top ten pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. I just don’t see it. A team will probably bite on his upside and take him early and we will watch him get sacked way too many times. Willis isn’t ready to start day one and has some work to do before a team should hand him the keys to an offense.

I would be comfortable drafting him on day 2 and sitting him behind a veteran for a year or two, but I wouldn’t use a first on him. He is a developmental QB and needs the time and coaching. I also feel the only team built to capitalize on his abilities already has Lamar Jackson. Additionally, in my opinion, Jackson was a better player at this point in his career. With that being said, how can scouts peg Willis as a top 10 pick?


Final Thoughts on Malik Willis


Liberty QB Malik Willis

Liberty QB Malik Willis

With the NFL continuously evolving, we see more and more teams looking for a mobile option at the QB position. I see the electric plays, but I also see holes in his skillset. Russell Wilson went in the third round and was a better passer than Willis coming out of college. Lamar Jackson was a better runner and passer who was taken with the last pick in the first round.

There are too many questions for me to value him as highly as others do. Can he start to throw receivers open from the pocket? Will he stop looking to run as often? Can he cut down on the high turnover numbers? Can he produce against top talent? I mean we aren’t talking about Bo Nix in the first round and he took Willis’ job at Auburn!

If I were making the draft day decision, I couldn’t take him in the first round. Unfortunately, every team is looking for their version of Lamar or Patty Mahomes. The question is, which team will take him way too early in April?


Malik Willis NFL Player Comparison

Trying to decide who to compare him to was a bit tough. I see some Russell in his escapability, but not the ability to QB like him. I see some Lamar meets Cam in his running ability, but he doesn’t fit either of those likenesses either. In the end, I thought about Jalen Hurts but Hurts protects the ball way better.

I think a faster, more explosive Taysom Hill playing just QB is the right comparison. Some people are big fans of what Taysom has done when playing QB. I’m not one of them. I think he looks to run too early and too often. Willis also makes bad reads in the RPO game.