Eagles Looking Hard at ‘Fun Project’ QB at Senior Bowl Practices

Malik Willis

Getty Mel Kiper believes this QB is the "most talented" in the 2022 NFL draft.

Kenny Pickett and his hand size were the main topics of discussion when players first arrived in Alabama for the Senior Bowl. Now the spotlight has shifted slightly over to Malik Willis, the dual-threat quarterback out of Liberty University.

Willis has the “best arm in Mobile,” per Football Outsiders, and the Philadelphia Eagles are one team “paying particular attention” to him. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder threw for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns (12 interceptions) while rushing for another 878 yards and 13 scores in 2021.

Willis had been rising up draft boards early in the year until a three-pick performance against Ole Miss tapered expectations. He is considered a talented-yet-raw prospect who remains a Top-15 pick, although some say he’s been the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl after two practices.

Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders shared the following notes from the first day of Senior Bowl practices:

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis has the best arm in Mobile, and it’s not close. He rifles off medium-range passes, both from the pocket and on the run, with little effort. Willis doesn’t have an off-speed pitch, however, and his accuracy was scattershot on Tuesday.

Still, some teams are about to have visions of Trey Lance-meets-Josh Allen dancing in their heads. Some Eagle-eyed observers noted Howie Roseman paying particular attention to Willis.

Meanwhile, Pickett drew a huge compliment from Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy. He mentioned “Joe Burrow vibes” while praising his football intelligence and leadership ability.

“He’s got a really cool way about him,” Nagy said, via Tanier. “Kinda reminds me a little bit of [Joe] Burrow … guys just gravitate to him. He’s a leader.”

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Scouting Reports on Willis

Willis possesses a lot of the same on-field traits as Jalen Hurts (6-foot-1, 223 pounds), including an almost identical body build. However, there are valid concerns over his ability to read defenses and throw guys open. Willis can be too quick to scramble out of the pocket when his first read is covered. He is a “fun project,” according to Bleacher Report.

Their scouting department wrote: “Overall, Willis is more of a toolsy player than a viable starting NFL quarterback at this point in time. He will be a big project for whichever NFL team selects him—albeit a fun project. He played in a simple offense in college, so he’ll be facing a huge jump in complexity of not only the offense he plays in but the defenses he will be facing.”

Julian Lurie Arrives at Senior Bowl

The Eagles have three first-round picks: No. 15, No. 16, No. 19. There has been much talk about what they are going to do. Philadelphia could keep them and upgrade their aging defense by taking an impact linebacker, edge rusher, cornerback.

Or they could draft another explosive wide receiver to support Hurts. Wait, there’s one more option — the Eagles could package those picks and trade for a top-flight quarterback like Russell Wilson.

No one knows what the Philly brain trust has planned. General manager Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni — along with owner Jeffrey Lurie and his son, Julian — are all in Alabama where they have been spotted scouting quarterbacks. The fact that Julian is there had people talking on social media.

The 26-year-old Harvard grad is observing and learning about the team’s pre-draft operations, according to The Athletic. It’s a foregone conclusion that Julian will one day take over the franchise from his father.

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