All the buzz following the Senior Bowl was the performance of Liberty QB Malik Willis, which vaulted him into the discussion of being the first QB off the board. The competition is now believed to be between Willis and Kenny Pickett from Pittsburgh. The Panthers are interested in both, as they are still looking to find a long-term solution to their QB woes, which have plagued the team since Matt Rhule became the HC. Panthers beat reporter for the Charlotte Observer, Ellis Williams, joined the Nick Wilson Show earlier today, to talk about Willis, and the potential of him being the first quarterback taken:
“From what I can gather, Malik at times in his interviews didn’t really impress with his focus. And that to me isn’t a red flag, it just shows you what everyone has said about projecting Malik Willis to be a day one starter in the NFL. He’s not ready.”
There aren’t many rookie quarterbacks that sit on the bench during their first season in the NFL, as there is usually pressure on their head coach to start proving results. That’s the same situation the Panthers find themselves in with Matt Rhule, as he is 10-23 in the NFL. With already $18 million committed to Sam Darnold, there is a scenario where they can draft Willis, and let him sit, as Darnold plays out his contract, as he’s not going to be the long-term answer in Carolina. Either way, Willis needs to be an option for the team this draft, as he has the most upside of any QB in the draft, and is capable of elevating the talent that already exists on the roster.