PFF Analyst Drops Intriguing Lions Quarterback Rumor After Combine

Malik Willis

Getty Malik WIllis throwing for teams during the 2022 NFL combine.

Coming out of the 2022 NFL combine, it felt fairly set what the Detroit Lions could be poised to do with their top pick, but a new rumor could change that future dynamic more than a bit.

The Lions have needs across the roster, so despite the fact that defensive lineman seemed like the best overall position to consider primed for a fix, there may be other plans for the Lions that involve a more glamorous spot on the field during the draft.

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Following the NFL combine, Pro Football Focus analyst Doug Kyed took a look at some buzz that was making the rounds during the event. As Kyed was setting the scene for what could happen with the first two picks of the draft, he revealed a semi-bombshell from the Detroit perspective, potentially at the position of quarterback.

First, Kyed explained that the Jacksonville pick may come from a group of offensive tackles Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu or defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson. Detroit then, as Kyed wrote, “will likely take the top remaining pass rusher or a quarterback (Malik Willis is one to watch).”

It isn’t a shock to see defensive end mentioned, but Kyed singling out the quarterback spot for Detroit so early is interesting to note. For months, there’s been a notion that the position isn’t deep enough or good enough to warrant a top 10 selection this year. Willis, given his potential, figured to be the none player capable of shifting that narrative on his own. It’s possible he may have done enough of that to get Detroit’s attention.

Additionally, this could merely be a smoke screen designed into panicking a desperate team to come up the board to try and select Willis or another quarterback, or Willis could even be the target of the Lions in a potential trade down scenario.

Either way, quarterback could quietly now be in play for the Lions as it relates to the NFL draft this year.

Willis Enjoyed Solid Combine Performance

What could put Willis firmly on Detroit’s radar at this point in the process? Nothing other than a fantastic week in Indianapolis. Teams were looking to see what would happen during the NFL combine for Willis, and to say he impressed was an understatement. The quarterback managed to quell plenty of concerns about his game with an electric performance. Willis elected not to show his speed with the 40 yard dash, but managed to show off with other field work including an incredible throw that was captured by the NFL’s official account on Twitter:

It wasn’t just on the field where Willis excelled, though. He made headlines off the field during the week in Indianapolis after a clip went viral of him helping a homeless man on the street nearby downtown.

Add it all up and it was the kind of week most prospects only dream about when their NFL combine experience begins. It could lead Willis to shoot up the board further now that the combine has officially concluded.

Why Lions Could Select Willis

Detroit is looking for a quarterback of the future even though they have Jared Goff in the mix for 2022 and perhaps beyond. In spite of Goff’s seemingly solid standing with the team, the Lions could be looking for a player to groom for the future, and Willis could fit the bill. He is part of what looks to be a new prototype for a quarterback in the league, being that he can run and also has a live arm. His command needs some work, but in time, it’s possible a team like Detroit with a starter willing to be patient could benefit from Willis down the line.

The Lions have figured to be in the mix for a top defensive lineman for some time, but the 2022 class could be proving deep with those players, as well. Names like Jordan Davis, Jermaine Johnson, Boye Mafe and others could be intriguing additions for the Lions later in the first-round as well. Others contend Detroit could look at a safety like Kyle Hamilton, but that class is deep as well being names like Smoke Monday exist.

If Willis is determined to be the guy, it might not be shocking to see the Lions take a swing at a quarterback they believe in. Momentum could now be leading in that direction following the combine.

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