The quarterback position is one of the few question marks for the Denver Broncos heading into the 2022 offseason.
Last year’s starter, Teddy Bridgewater, failed to take hold of the reigns, underwhelming the fan base, while the backup quarterback, Drew Lock, failed to capitalize on his opportunities and does not appear to be the team’s long-term answer moving forward.
First, either player must choose to leave, and second, their organizations want what Denver can offer.
If speculation surrounding Rodgers does not materialize, the Broncos will have to turn towards the draft to solve their quarterback dilemma.
Many of this year’s top-ranked players at the quarterback position are down in Mobile, Alabama for the Reese’s Senior Bowl. One of those quarterbacks, Malik Willis, is already starting to turn heads.
Fortunately for Broncos Country, the team has had their eyes on Willis for a long time.
During the season, the Broncos sent five scouts, including general manager George Paton, to a matchup between Willis and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral. With five scouts in attendance, the Broncos had two more members of the front office at the game than any other team.
Years as a scout have influenced Paton’s approach in assessing talent. He is a general manager who prefers to see players up close and in person.
Broncos GM George Paton on what he gains from seeing QB prospects in person at the @seniorbowl:
"How do they throw it? How athletic are they? How do they handle an interception? How do they handle adversity? … You can’t see all that on tape." pic.twitter.com/65moiLoZi1
— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) February 4, 2022
Matching the season’s tape with an in-person assessment provides Paton with an in-depth view of a quarterback’s skill-set and personal makeup.
Why Willis could intrigue Broncos brass
Willis provides a dynamic skill set that could create problems for NFL defenses, and provide a weapon to match the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in the division.
At the beginning of Senior Bowl week, the Broncos met with Willis.
Liberty QB Malik Willis said he has met with the Broncos at the Senior Bowl.
— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) February 2, 2022
Paton and the crew were smart to do so as Willis has become the talk of the Senior Bowl.
Willis has been impressive during the week’s practices and should see his stock rise as a result of this performance.
The fact Willis has turned heads with his elite running ability and best-in-class arm talent is no surprise, but it’s still nice to see as it’s those high-end traits that make him so appealing to a team gasping for oxygen in the AFC West.
Here, you can see some of Willis’s shiftiness, which has been on display throughout the week in Mobile.
— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) February 3, 2022
What should be more impressive is that Willis has shown some improvements each day. Criticism surrounding Willis has been aimed at his ability to process and play on time. So far he has answered some of those questions this week.
Everyone is raving about Malik Willis right now
He is clearly the best QB here
Everything is in sync even in the rain
Timing, mechanics, impressive. pic.twitter.com/KH02QOtYnB
— Louie DiBiase (@DiBiaseLOE) February 2, 2022
On Wednesday, Willis showed that inclement weather does not faze him. A player like Willis keeps your playbook open regardless of the conditions. For a team that plays in inclement weather frequently, like the Broncos, adding a player like Willis could be enticing.
Malik Willis rips this into a tight window with good anticipation, but the ball is dropped pic.twitter.com/l1vT2UW74P
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 3, 2022
Willis’s skill set is a great fit in Nathaniel Hackett’s wide zone scheme. Similar to the San Fransicso 49ers’ plan for Trey Lance a season ago, Willis will be a long-term project, but he could be a dynamic playmaker in Denver.