2022 NFL Draft: Five takeaways from Liberty QB Malik Willis, Texas A&M pro days

Tune in to NFL Network this week to see Liberty’s Malik Willis and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral — two of the most highly touted QB prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft — in action at their pro days:

  • Path to the Draft Pro Day Special: Liberty — 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 22.
  • Path to the Draft Pro Day Special: Ole Miss — 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 23.

All 32 NFL teams were represented at the Liberty pro day, where quarterback Malik Willis was the star attraction. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin were among those in attendance, as was Panthers head coach Matt Rhule. At the same time, there were also NFL eyes on the campus of Texas A&M on Tuesday, as the Aggies held their pro day.

Here are five takeaways from the events:

1) Tuesday was a good day for Malik Willis. The QB acknowledged that he missed a couple of throws during his post-workout interview with NFL Network’s Steve Wyche. It’s true that his ball placement wasn’t perfect every time, but all in all, Willis was very impressive during his throwing session.

There was no question about his arm strength — he proved that during his college career and at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month – but he still showed off his ability on some deep passes that drew big reactions from the crowd gathered for the workout in Lynchburg, Virginia. That said, he displayed the ability to slow the tempo down on underneath throws when necessary. Also, he took some snaps from under center, which was important, considering he worked pretty much exclusively from the shotgun in high school and college.

“More or less, I was just trying to show them anything they wanted to see,” Willis told Wyche of his pro-day strategy. “I’m just trying to come out here and put it all on the table.”

He did nothing but help himself on Tuesday, and clearly remains in the conversation to be the first quarterback selected in the draft.

2) This workout was fun. You don’t always see a lot of smiles during pro days, but that was not the case at Liberty, something that NFL Network analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah both noted during Tuesday’s Path to the Draft Pro Day Special.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a more joyful workout than this one,” Jeremiah said. “A lot of guys get locked in and they’re kind of in that zone and it’s very intense. He is loose and he is comfortable and he is having fun.”

There were some drops by receivers during the throwing session, but Willis was quick to offer encouragement to his former Liberty teammates when a catchable pass ended up hitting the ground.

“Some people talk about thermostat leaders. Do they change the temperature of the room when they walk in? He appears to have all the things to raise the energy. I like that,” Brooks said. “He appears to have that personality. People like being around him. That matters.”

3) We won’t get to see Willis run the 40-yard dash. He declined to run the 40 at the combine and did so again at his pro day, per Wyche. This is not the first time a top QB prospect has passed up two opportunities to post a 40 time for scouts, and Jeremiah cited the fact that Willis was clocked at 20-plus mph at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in February. With the speed he has displayed in game action, teams are unlikely to dock him any points for declining to run a 40. We already know he is fast.

4) The arrow appears to be pointing down for a previously hyped Texas A&M tight end. Jalen Wydermyer has been one of the most highly touted prospects at his position in this year’s draft, but it looks like he did not help himself at Tuesday’s pro day. He was clocked by scouts at 5.03 seconds in the 40, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater. The slowest time for a tight end at this year’s combine was 4.96 seconds. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein believes Wydermyer’s chances of being drafted are now in doubt.

5) The Cowboys are doing their due diligence on Texas A&M linemen. Each NFL team is allowed 30 pre-draft visits from prospects, and the Cowboys have at least two booked with players who could fill needs. Aggies offensive linemen Kenyon Green and defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal both told Slater they have visits scheduled with Dallas. Green rates as Brooks’ No. 2 interior O-lineman in the draft, while Leal rates as Brooks’ No. 2 defensive tackle available. Titans GM Jon Robinson was eyeing Green on Tuesday, as well.

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