Detroit Lions: Malik Willis is quickly becoming a real possibility at no. 2

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Liberty’s quarterback, and top ten draft hopeful, Malik Willis, put on a show at his pro day, sparking more speculation on where he may be drafted.  Will Willis be a possibility at no. 2 when the Detroit Lions are on the board?  Only general manager Brad Holmes knows, but prepare yourself for an abundance of chatter surrounding the star quarterback over the next month leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft.

The one thing about a quarterback having a stellar pro day that needs to be mentioned is that all these throws are against air.  There are no corners pressing receivers at the line of scrimmage or ball-hawking safeties reading the eyes of the quarterback or elite level edge defenders pressuring the signal-caller.  The top-ranked quarterbacks in any draft class should put on a show against air.

With the Detroit Lions not having a long-term solution at the quarterback position in place for the second straight year, and really for the first time in 13 years, it’s not unusual for experts and fans to constantly link or rally behind a quarterback prospect.

Detroit Lions’ potential draft prospect, Malik Willis, turns heads during pro day.

Although Willis’ perfect blend of athleticism, mobility, playmaking abilities, and arm strength is enough to make an ordinary fan salivate, he’s still very raw and far from a finished product.  That is a way for fans and analysts to justify Holmes and the Detroit Lions selecting the Liberty product knowing Jared Goff is already in place and likely heading into his final season with the organization.

Goff can be a valuable mentor to Willis, who will greatly benefit from sitting an entire year, learning the playbook, and offensive system at the pro level, similar to what the San Francisco 49ers did this past season with Trey Lance.

NFL Network‘s Bucky Brooks added that Willis’ talents match a verticle downfield passing offense that is complemented by a power run game.

"“The thing that could be appealing about him,” NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks said mid-workout, “is, in an old-school, traditional offense, it’s really built on the running game and pushing the ball down the field, throwing those deep comebacks and those vertical routes. His game and his talent would appear to match.”"

As The Athletic‘s Chris Burke points out, that is precisely in line with what head coach Dan Campbell has envisioned for his offense.  That became apparent midway through last season when Campbell stripped Anthony Lynn of the play-calling duties and at times stubbornly relied upon the run even in third and long situations.

Holmes has begun to rebuild this roster from the trenches out, and Detroit will want to control the line of scrimmage, pound the rock with D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and even Craig Reynolds setting up the downfield passing attack.  Goff proved that he could be a capable game-manager during his time with the Rams but definitely lacks arm strength.

As you can see, Willis has that big arm that is so desired among NFL franchises. That was one of the main reasons Rams head coach Sean McVay wanted to secure Matthew Stafford, who has one of the strongest arms in the game.  Stafford helped McVay unlock the downfield passing attack his offense had lacked over the past few years.

The Detroit Lions will be looking to add an offensive weapon with one of their first three draft choices. The Detroit Lions offense appears very close to exploding, and adding DJ Chark to compliment Amon-Ra St. Brown, and T.J. Hockenson will help stretch the field. That being said, if Willis is the real deal and the Lions’ brass sees him as a franchise quarterback, they shouldn’t mess around and select him second overall.

Following the stellar performance at his pro day, Jeff Risdon of The Lions Wire brought up a fascinating point regarding Willis’ measurables.

If Holmes and co. feel that Willis doesn’t figure into their future plans, they should bluff and at least continue to boast about him knowing that there is an abundance of quarterback-needy teams that might be looking to trade up for his services.

Next. 3 WRs the Detroit Lions need to target in round 3. dark

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Holmes may be able to land a significant package to trade back from a team fixated on drafting Willis.  There are many positive ways to spin Willis’ strong pro day as his draft stock rises.