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2022 NFL Draft

Top QB prospect Malik Willis will throw, but won't run at NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the top arms in the 2022 NFL Draft won't show off his legs this week.

Liberty signal-caller Malik Willis told reporters Wednesday that he will throw at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he will not run or participate in other drills.

Willis, viewed to be a first-round pick in April's draft in many mock drafts, said he'd probably run at his pro day, which is scheduled for March 24.

Thankfully for NFL talent evaluators, Willis has already put his game on tape this draft circuit. The Liberty QB stood out at the Senior Bowl last month, displaying arm strength and escapability, leading both teams in Mobile in rushing.

While there is no consensus yet on who should be the top signal-caller to come off the board, Willis said he feels his name should be the first called among quarterbacks.

"I think so, but I don't make those decisions," Willis told reporters. " I hate that for me."

Even though Willis isn't running the gauntlet of drills, he's still making the most of the week in Indianapolis. Willis said he's already met with all 32 teams during the draft process.

Among the popular pairings for Willis are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are in the market for a QB after Ben Roethlisberger retired this offseason; NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks and Lance Zierlein all have Willis going to the Steel City in the first round in their latest mocks. Pittsburgh brass has indicated it's interested in adding a more mobile QB after years with the lead-footed Big Ben under center, making Willis potentially a top target. (Unfortunately for the Steelers and other clubs, they won't be able to get a good read of Willis' speed this week.)

Willis said Wednesday that he liked the Steelers coaching staff when he met with them, but doesn't know enough about the offense to know if he'd be a good fit with the club. The QB joked he prefers to play in an offense that "scores points."

The former Auburn and Liberty quarterback, who said he thought his NFL dream was dead after he transferred to the smaller school in 2019 and once considered football "boring," projected an air of quiet confidence on the podium Wednesday, not letting the conversation around his game affect him ahead of the biggest week of his professional life.

"Somebody's always gonna think you're trash," Willis mused. "If you focus so hard on whatever everyone's opinion is of you, you're never gonna be happy. I want to be happy, so I'm not gonna think about it. You can say what you want to."

Willis, Kenny Pickett and the other top quarterbacks of the 2022 class are slated to hit the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday, live on NFL Network.

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