NFL Insider Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the Colts have scheduled a meeting with one of the most-highly regarded quarterbacks of this year’s draft class — Liberty’s Malik Willis.
“[Indianapolis] is an interesting one because they, of course, very famously, do not have a first-round pick, but if he slips a little bit, maybe they are a surprise team and try to trade up for him,” said Rapoport on NFL Network.
Barring a trade, the Colts first pick in the 2022 Draft will be at No. 42 overall in the second round.
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Malik Willis Possesses Tremendous Upside
With Ryan behind center this fall, the Colts are set to start a different quarterback in Week 1 for the sixth straight season. While Ryan arrives in Indianapolis will a Hall of Fame resume, he turns 37 in May and is not a longterm solution for the Colts.
For those reasons, it’s understandable that Indianapolis is doing its due diligence with this year’s quarterback class. There is no consensus top choice behind center like in years past, but a lot of scouting departments consider Willis to have the highest ceiling.
“Upside quarterback with special parts of his game, but with no guarantee they will be assembled properly into a finished product,” NFL analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote. “Willis uses his rare combination of elite rushing talent and a rocket-launching right arm to unlock explosive plays in two different ways.
“Even if Willis fails to reach his passing potential, running ability doesn’t slump, and he has the talent to produce on the ground at a level between Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson.”
The ESPN big board ranks Willis the No. 21 overall prospect and top quarterback in the 2022 class. Other major outlets such as Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus have Willis as the second-best quarterback in the class, but the scouting departments at both publications still identified Willis as possessing major upside.
Scouts at PFF called Willis “an electric playmaker.”
How Far Will Willis Have to Fall for Colts to be Realistic Destination?
As the quarterback with the most upside in the class, Willis could be the first signal caller off the board. Even though a quarterback is not expected to go first overall like in six of the last seven drafts, Willis could still go in the Top 10 if he’s the first quarterback drafted.
That’s exactly what happened in the latest mock draft from NFL analyst Charles Davis of NFL.com. Davis predicted Willis will be the first quarterback taken at No. 6 overall.
It’s hard to say “never” in the NFL, but it’s very difficult to foresee a team wanting to give up a selection in the top 10 for a first-round pick next year that could be anywhere in the first 32 choices.
With that in mind, since the Colts don’t have a first-round pick this year, there’s very little chance they could trade up into the Top 10 to draft Willis.
It’s also highly unlikely Willis falls all the way to No. 42 to the Colts in the second round. He has too much upside and quarterbacks are drafted too heavily in the first round to assume he could go undrafted in the first 41 selections.
The only realistic scenario where the Colts could draft Willis is if he drops in the first round, and Indianapolis trades up to get him.
At this point, though, it’s difficult to predict how far Willis would have to fall to make that a real possibility.
In the latest mock draft from NFL reporter Peter Schrager of NFL Network and Fox Sports, Willis fell to No. 20.
Whether that’s enough of a drop or not, the Colts are going to bring Willis in for a visit next week.