The crop of quarterbacks for the draft does not seem particularly high this year, but the athletic qualities of Malik Willis arouse enthusiasm. Wednesday, at the Combine in Indianapolis, it was his personality that made him score points.
Of course, no one becomes a quality starter in the NFL by showing repartee. The fact remains that in a sanitized era where everyone must deliver an almost robotic speech, Willis’s candor in front of the media clearly clashed.
Much more importantly, the Liberty University quarterback would have literally charmed the teams that paraded him for interviews, according to rumors circulating in the halls at the Combine.
Willis obviously didn’t work for a major program. Even though he is an outstanding athlete with a cannon arm, it is easy to question some questionable decision-making and his lack of precision.
« There will always be someone to think you’re just trash, » said the pivot bluntly. Everyone has opinions about you and if you just think about all those opinions floating around, you’ll never be happy. I choose to be happy and be affected only by the opinions of people I respect and trust. »
In the media exercise, players will often respond to appeal to the masses, particularly quarterbacks called upon to become the face of a franchise.
In this sense, with his ultra-relaxed attitude and his responses that are not intended to win any popularity contest, Willis seems like a rare bird.
“It’s still a game. You shouldn’t stress too much. Life can be stressful. All kinds of situations can arise. In terms of football, I can only be grateful to play a game that everyone wants to see,” he explained.
On several occasions during his media bath, Willis sparked laughter. In particular, when he was asked what type of attack he saw himself best in.
“In an attack that scores points!” he replied.
Same thing when he was asked about his goals.
“I just want to find myself somewhere and make my place on a team. I hate having big goals and not being able to achieve them. I’m not like all those guys who say they want to be rookie of the year but have never played a game in the NFL. It sounds so weird!” he smiled.
Growing up, countless numbers of players dreamed of the NFL. Again, that’s not exactly the case with Malik Willis.
“I found football rather boring!” he laughed.
And when did he start to take more interest in it? « When I got good, » he replied tit for tat.
His personality will seduce some and alienate others. At the Combine, Willis will participate in passing drills, but will not run.
Pickett under the magnifying glass
Willis is among the quarterbacks who are among the first to be selected, as is Kenny Pickett of the University of Pittsburgh. The latter is also sorry to hear repeatedly that this year’s vintage is weak.
“Everyone has a right to express themselves, but I believe there are excellent quarterbacks. We’ll see later, » he said.
“I think I should be the first chosen. Knowing how to win is key. All my hard work over the last few years culminated last season. It didn’t happen overnight. I come from a pro system and I think it will help me adapt quickly, ”he pleaded.
Pickett had been very quiet in Pittburgh in recent years before his superb senior season last fall (42 touchdowns, 7 interceptions). If he is considered the pivot most ready to make the jump in the NFL, question marks remain. Analysts are questioning whether he’s only had a good season and signs that all the details are being worked out, the small size of his hands raises concerns.
“It’s a story that has been talked about much more by the media than the NFL clubs. I haven’t really heard about it in my interviews with the teams. I think what defines me is my video. There are several matches in my career that people can go to see, ”recalled the one who intends to take part in the various physical tests at the Combine.
Corral wants to prove itself
For his part, Matt Corral, who had good times with Ole Miss, must answer questions about his durability and above all, the fact that the attack in which he evolved has regularly bet on game concepts of option.
Recovering from an ankle injury suffered during the Sugar Bowl, he will not be physically challenged.
“I’m here to show the teams during my interviews that I have a very good understanding of the game. The fact that we used a lot of options concepts does not mean that I cannot read defensive formations. I want to demonstrate that what sets me apart from others are my leadership skills, my understanding of the game and my physical abilities.
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