Panthers Tabbed as Favorite to Pick Malik Willis in 2022 NFL Draft

NFL Combine
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It doesn’t take a football expert to see that the Carolina Panthers are not well situated in the quarterback department. The fact that they thought it was a good idea to sign Cam Newton last year should be an indication of how much this franchise is clutching at straws. 

As of today, the Panthers have just two quarterbacks on the roster. Those quarterbacks are Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. Darnold finished 28th in yards, 29th in touchdowns, 29th in QBR, and 19th in interceptions last year. Walker is a walking interception and has eight off of just 122 passing attempts. There have been rumblings of bringing Newton back, but this would be a mistake. He looked awful in his previous return and only ade 126 pass attempts in the eight games he played in. 

That brings us to the NFL Draft going down at the end of April. And surprise, surprise, the Panthers are looking at a number of quarterbacks. The Panthers are planning to host Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, and Matt Corral for visits in the near future. While they are all quality choices, I want to focus on Willis for the purposes of this article. 

Malik is a true dual-threat quarterback in my eyes. He has a cannon for an arm that can hit just about anywhere on the field. He is also an elite runner who totaled 2,131 rushing yards in his four years in college. Willis was named the starter in 2020 at Liberty and led the Flames to a 9-1 record and a top 25 finish in the AP Poll. He won the 2020 Dudley Award for being the best player in the state. 

Malik has an incredible ability to read the blitz and this, combined with his elusiveness, makes him an attractive option for the Panthers. He does have a lot in common with a young Cam Newton. And, as much as I think he is not a starter in the NFL, Newton could serve as a mentor for Malik if willing to take on that role. 

There are a lot worse picks you can make at the No. 6 spot. And the Panthers know all too well about making back picks in the draft. But, I think Carolina is a good match for Willis and am interested to see what happens at the Draft.