Former Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis is taking steps to get himself ready for the possibility he takes over as the starter for the Tennessee Titans.
Per ESPN's Turron Davenport, Willis has been working "extensively" with Titans quarterbacks coach Pat O'Hara since the draft to "make adjustments to his mechanics to improve accuracy."
The 22-year-old was selected by the Titans in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft and could be the successor to Ryan Tannehill.
Willis transferred to Liberty after two seasons at Auburn and completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions during the 2021 campaign. He also rushed for 878 yards and 13 scores.
Willis' strengths are in his speed, arm strength, ability to extend plays and avoid sacks. However, he has weaknesses in throwing the ball deep and consistency with his ball placement, according to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah:
"Willis has a long way to go in his development, but his arm strength, athleticism and competitiveness create a unique foundation to build on. He needs time to clean up the areas mentioned above, but his impact as a runner will be felt as soon as he steps foot on the field. He is borderline unstoppable on designed QB runs in the red zone. He can pick up those tough yards on QB draws, sweeps or zone reads. He can use his speed to capture the edge or use his strength to run through tackles or carry defenders for several yards."
Jeremiah also noted that the Atlanta native has a similar skill set to Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints QB Taysom Hill.
While Willis will be held to a high standard and undoubtedly face a lot of pressure when he eventually gets on the field, Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Treylon Burks, Austin Hooper and Derrick Henry can help him shoulder the load.
Davenport did note it would take either "injury or some kind of catastrophic failure" from Tannehill this season for Willis to have any chance of being the starter when this season begins.
There also seems to be a strong probability that Willis doesn't start at all in 2022 because the Titans are still trying to compete for a playoff spot. They did lose a key piece of the offense when A.J. Brown was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles during the draft.
Treylon Burks, who was used with the No. 18 pick they received in the Brown deal, will have the difficult task of immediately stepping in as the No. 1 receiver. The Titans also added Woods, who tore his ACL in November, in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams.
There's no reason for the Titans to rush Willis onto the field as a starter. His speed and athleticism could get him into games for certain rushing packages, but Tannehill has done enough during his three years with the team to warrant being the starter for one more season.
The Titans finished last season as the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a 12-5 record. They lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-16, in the AFC divisional round.