2022 NFL Combine: Malik Willis is at ease with his moment

Malik Willis, Liberty Flames. (Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports)
Malik Willis, Liberty Flames. (Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) /

On Wednesday, Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett spoke at the 2022 NFL Combine and talked about a willingness to embrace the unknown.

INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re ever around Malik Willis and he’s panicked, know something is horribly wrong.

Willis, the first-round quarterback talent from small-school Liberty, was in a big-league environment Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Sitting at Podium 3, Willis faced a barrage of questions ranging to which teams had he met with (most of them) to his anxiety level, what needs to continue improving and where would he hypothetically like to play next?

Naturally, a young man going through a week-long test could be excused for some nerves. Instead, Willis may have been the calmest person in the room.

“This is a game,” Willis said. “It can’t make me stressed. Life is stressful. You go through way worse stuff in life. I’m going to be grateful I get to come out here and play a game.”

That quote essentially sums up the attitude. No brashness. No boldness. A quiet confidence. And, as other moments showed, a dry sense of humor which will play well in NFL interviews … and locker rooms.

From there, Willis had a few more compelling answers. He talked about needing to continue improving his base when throwing to improve accuracy. He spoke about going to Liberty and thinking his pro dream was over.

Then, when asked if he draws inspiration from Buffalo Bills star quarterback Josh Allen — who also struggled with accuracy coming out of college — Willis was blunt.

“Not really, somebody is always going to think you’re trash,” Willis said. It’s just the way the game goes. It is what it is. I’m just going to keep on going. I’m not playing for their approval. I’m only playing for the only approval I respect, God. I’m playing for an audience of one.”

There was also the question of what offense would be best for him? Easy answer.

“One that scores points.”

And so it went for the better part of 20 minutes. At one point, Willis talked about hating recruiting because of how the process made him feel. He was candid about not worrying about the process, and how his parents keep him grounded.

All told, Willis showcased the posture of a man ready for the moment, poised as can be.