ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. Calls Malik Willis 'The Most Talented QB' in the 2022 NFL Draft

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2022

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis runs through passing drills during Liberty Football Pro Day in Lynchburg, Va., on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)
AP Photo/Kendall Warner

Count ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. among the fans of Liberty quarterback Malik Willis heading into the 2022 NFL draft.

The draft analyst called Willis "the most talented quarterback" in this year's class during an appearance on Wednesday's episode of Get Up:

"If you want the best quarterback on talent, and I go into the history, you learn from the history in the draft. Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, they weren't considered necessarily NFL-ready right away, but they had the most talent. And the most talent will win out. And for Malik Willis, in this draft, he's the most talented quarterback. That's why I have him slightly ahead of Kenny Pickett on the draft board." 

This is more praise for Willis, who seems to be trending in the right direction even if the overall quarterback class is considered by some to be weaker this year.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Tuesday that "it would be a major surprise if Malik falls out of the top 20" and suggested the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are potential destinations where he could temporarily sit behind Sam Darnold or Marcus Mariota and hone his game before potentially taking over long-term.

Willis' overall upside is clear whenever he starts to run from the backfield.

He finished his final season with Liberty with 878 yards and 13 scores on the ground while also throwing for 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. That ability to escape pressure helps him make plays downfield both as a runner and a passer who creates additional time for his receivers to break open.

B/R's NFL Scouting Department pointed out Willis has "very good arm strength that can drive on intermediate throws" and "can attack all parts of the field with his arm and throws a catchable deep ball."

It also projected him as the No. 2 overall pick in its most recent mock draft, with the Detroit Lions taking a chance.

Teams such as the Lions, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Panthers, Falcons or Seattle Seahawks could look to take a quarterback in the top 10, and Willis is the best option in the eyes of Kiper.