The Detroit Lions got a close look at Malik Willis down at the Senior Bowl, but does it make sense for them to draft him?
Senior Bowl week is in the books. The Detroit Lions coaching staff led the American squad through practices and in the game Saturday. One of the overall standouts from the week was Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who happened to be on the American team roster.
Willis is a name Lions fans have gotten familiar with. He is considered the most gifted quarterback in this year’s draft. The biggest questions surrounding him are level of competition in college, and accuracy as a passer.
Willis worked with the Lions’ staff all week, so they had every opportunity to get toward answers for those questions.
For all his physical tools, Willis can’t just be anointed as the best quarterback in this class without question. There are plenty of examples of physically gifted quarterbacks who couldn’t make in the NFL (Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell stand out as two). That said, based on what we could see in his interviews with media down in Mobile, Willis seems to have a steady, even-keel demeanor to go with his talent.
Does it make sense for the Lions to draft Malik Willis?
So when all is said and done, would it make sense for the Lions to draft Willis if they have the opportunity? No quarterback, not even Willis, is worthy of the second overall pick–so that’s out.
That means the focus shifts to the Lions’ second first-round pick, slated for No. 31 or No. 32 depending on how the Rams do in the Super Bowl. That pick of course came the Lions’ way in the Matthew Stafford trade.
If Willis is still on the board late in the first round, it feels like he’d be the no-brainer pick over a wide receiver, a safety, etc. Having Jared Goff in the house would help the process, since Willis could sit and learn for at least next season.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes declared himself open for business this week, including trading down from No. 2 overall. A trade down, to somewhere lower in the top-10 overall, would invite the idea of getting Willis and adding more picks.
Without moving down from second overall of moving up significantly from one of the final two picks in the first round, it seems like a lock the Lions will miss out on a reasonable chance to draft Willis. But the door can’t be shut on him being the guy the organization envisions as the next franchise quarterback, with moves around the draft board being made to make it happen.