The 2022 NFL Draft kicks off next week and still, nobody can pinpoint exactly who the Atlanta Falcons will turn to at No. 8 overall.
But according to sources who have spoken to NFL Rumors intern, Brandon Jensen, the Falcons are “very high” on quarterback prospect Malik Willis as of Wednesday, April 19.
The Falcons met with the Liberty product three times ahead of the draft, so if the source isn’t lying it makes sense as to why Atlanta did such extensive homework on the projected Top 10 QB.
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A.J. Terrell Made It Known That He’s A Willis Fan
If Atlanta ends up drafting Willis, it’s no secret that he has A.J. Terrell’s vote.
The Falcons’ star corner recently made it known on Twitter that he’s a big fan.
“You The One Kid!,” Terrell wrote in a tweet directed at Willis following his impressive Pro Day.
Willis and Terrell have a lot in common as they are both Georgia natives and each attended Westlake high school in Atlanta.
After throwing for 2,562 passing yards in addition to logging 1,033 rushing yards as a senior in high school, Willis committed to Auburn. But with Jarrett Stidham ahead of him on the depth chart, Willis didn’t see the field much and decided to transfer to Liberty University after sitting out the 2019 season.
The dual-threat QB recorded 5,107 passing yards, 1,822 rushing yards, 74 total touchdowns, and 18 interceptions in just two seasons with the Flames.
A Trade Might Be Necessary to Grab Willis
The Falcons have endless roster needs to address so really, they could go anywhere with their eighth-overall pick. However, if the Falcons want Willis, they might have to move up in the draft.
Amongst all 2022 top rookie quarterbacks: Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder and Sam Howell, Willis is considered to be the first QB selected. In fact, oddsmakers have him or Georgia’s edge Trevon Walker as the favorite to be the second player taken off of the draft board.
The Detroit Lions currently own the second-overall pick at the moment, while the Jacksonville Jaguars are in charge of the first.
The Falcons could make the trade with the Jags or just take their chances and wait at No. 8 because according to longtime draft expert, Mel Kiper, a trade might not be necessary as Kiper doesn’t believe Willis is worth using a No. 2 pick on.
“Obviously, he interviews unbelievable,” Kiper told reporters on Wednesday, March 23. “He’s got the rocket arm. I compared him yesterday to, he’s kind of a right-handed version of Michael Vick in a lot of ways. I could definitely see Carolina at six, Atlanta at eight, and Seattle at nine taking Malik Willis. He would be the one because you’re rolling the dice on talent, you’re betting on the talent
“That’s what’s happened with Josh Allen, with Justin Herbert, talent has won out,” Kiper continued. “They weren’t the first quarterbacks taken. Allen was the third, Justin Herbert was the third and they’ve been better than the guys, a lot better than the guys that went ahead of them because of talent. They were a little raw, but they had great talent. Same thing with Malik, so I could see that happening.”
The Panthers are said to be in the market for a quarterback but it’s still unclear as to whether or not they draft a rookie or look for a trade partner.