With the NFL Combine on the horizon, the hype around quarterbacks continues to build. It’s the same every year. Whether the QB’s are some of the best of the past decade, or indeed some of the rawest, the never-ending desperation from NFL teams to find the next franchise QB will always ensure that there are a few names in the first-round conversation. One of those names this year is Liberty’s Malik Willis.
Willis is a very intriguing prospect who saw his stock soar into the sky after a stunning Senior Bowl performance. For the Eagles, the Senior Bowl has become a staple in their scouting process. There were questions as to whether or not they would be in the market for a signal-caller this year, and Willis putting on a clinic might have tempted Howie Roseman to at least take a peak…but it shouldn’t have.
There’s nothing wrong with Willis as a player. In fact, he’s a pretty damn good one and a hell of an athlete. The issue is that the Eagles already have a carbon copy in Jalen Hurts, with the lone difference being that Willis has a better arm.
Tell me who this reminds you of:
A quarterback who struggles to read defenses and predominantly is a one-read quarterback with freaky athleticism who can make defenses pay with his legs when the play breaks down. His accuracy isn’t brilliant and he has a habit to tuck the ball and run, leaving plenty of meat on the bone.
The only thing missing from this description of Malik Willis that would separate him from Jalen Hurts is that he has a much higher throwing velocity and a much stronger arm. He’s able to really unleash the deep ball and impressively so on the run, but the touch, like Hurts, is lacking.
Willis would be the perfect quarterback prospect for a team searching for a rushing quarterback to fit the emerging trendline in the NFL. For the Eagles, they’ve already checked that box and have a young player who ticks all the same boxes as Willis, but has one major thing working for him – he’s Jalen Hurts.
As a person and a leader, Jalen Hurts has garnered nothing but praise. That’s not to say that Willis isn’t the same kind of person, but the Eagles know what they have in Hurts. They’ve seen how he can galvanize the locker room and help lift his teammates. They’ve seen his growth as a person over the last two years and what he’s taken from a willing culture in Tuscaloosa to the NFL. Why would they risk losing that for a player who, while possessing similar traits, may not have the level of leadership and drive that Hurts does?
If the Eagles want a pocket-passer, then this is a different discussion. But Howie’s besottedness with Russell Wilson over the years should tell you all you need to know. And if Malik Willis is the cream of the crop when it comes to a rushing quarterback, then the Eagles should pass up on dessert, leave early, and sleep safe in the knowledge that they have their guy…for now.
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