X

Malik Willis Rumors: Vikings, Falcons, Seahawks, Lions Linked to QB on Day 2 of Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 29, 2022

Joe Buglewicz/AP Images for NFL

The biggest name to follow heading into the second day of the NFL draft is undoubtedly Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, a player many draft pundits believed would be a first-round selection. 

But he shouldn't be around long in the second. 

"This all could come together very quickly for Malik Willis," the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Friday. "... There's a couple of teams that have done a ton of homework on quarterbacks."

Rapoport listed the Minnesota Vikings (No. 34 overall), Seattle Seahawks (Nos. 40 and 41), Atlanta Falcons (No. 43) and Detroit Lions (No. 46) as potential destinations. 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Draft Kickoff: A look at how early <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Liberty?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Liberty</a> QB Malik Willis will go, while pondering what's next for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> QB Baker Mayfield... Plus, could the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Panthers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Panthers</a> trade back into the 2nd round for a QB? <a href="https://t.co/dEYU9kKOpJ">pic.twitter.com/dEYU9kKOpJ</a>

Willis' draft stock divided opinion heading into Thursday. 

The B/R Scouting Department, for instance, had Willis ranked as its No. 48 player in this year's draft class, so his fall to the second round aligned with that grade. 

But the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah had him ranked 26th, calling him a "thick, sturdy quarterback with elite arm strength and play-making ability" who is "still a work in progress, but he has the most upside on any QB in this class."

And ESPN had Willis ranked as the No. 21 player in the draft, comparing him to Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. 

Ian Kenyon @IanKenyonNFL

I think the way to rationalize Malik Willis being on the board is Jalen Hurts being drafted at 53

Dane Brugler @dpbrugler

My top-25 prospects were all drafted tonight. The best players available for me:<br><br>26. CB Andrew Booth<br>28. Edge Arnold Ebiketie<br>29. LB Nakobe Dean<br>32. QB Malik Willis<br>34. DT Travis Jones<br>35. RB Kenneth Walker<br>36. OT Bernhard Raimann<br>37. DL Logan Hall<br>38. DB Jalen Pitre

It's rare that only one quarterback came off the board in the first round, with Kenny Pickett going to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20, adding to the slight surprise that Willis fell:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

For just the second time in the last 20 years, there was only one quarterback taken in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft.<br><br>Per ESPN's Draft Predictor, there was a 14% chance that Malik Willis would still be available at the start of the 2nd Round. <a href="https://t.co/Nc9cGGrwE6">pic.twitter.com/Nc9cGGrwE6</a>

All of the teams listed by Rapoport would make sense. The Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos this offseason, while the Falcons sent Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. And while the Lions have Jared Goff on the roster, they may see him as a short-term stopgap while they seek an upgrade. 

In Detroit, Willis could be brought along slowly. 

Ditto for Minnesota, where he could be the heir apparent for Kirk Cousins, who is under contract through the 2023 season. Unless a team trades above the Vikings to No. 33—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently hold that pick and in theory could select Willis themselves to groom behind Tom Brady—Minnesota will have the first stab at Willis. 

Don't be shocked if his name is either the first or second to be called Friday night. 

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.