Rookie Titans are due to report for training camp on Saturday, and the quarterback Tennessee traded up for in the 2022 NFL Draft will arrive under contract.
The Titans have agreed to terms on a multi-year rookie contract with third-round quarterback Malik Willis, the team announced Saturday. The Titans’ entire nine-player draft class is now under contract after the signing of Willis.
Willis was selected with the No. 86 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Titans, who gave up a fifth-round pick in order to move up four spots and select the QB out of Liberty. Seen by many as the most physically gifted QB in the ’22 class, Willis may have fallen into the third round, but he enters the NFL as a dual-threat prospect with high upside.
Willis shined his senior season to drum up his prospective status by completing 207 of 339 passes for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns through the air and adding 878 yards rushing with 13 more scores on the ground. Needless to say, Willis was a one-man show for the Flames and he accounted for 65.9% of Liberty’s offensive production in 2021. Appearing in 38 total games in college, which included a two-year stint at Auburn, Willis completed 388 of 618 passes for 5,176 passing yards and 48 TDs.
Though he went unsigned through the Titans’ offseason program, Willis has been there every step of the way. The 23-year-old isn’t expected to be rushed as a rookie with incumbent QB Ryan Tannehill having a firm grasp on the starting role for a team that won the AFC South last season and has reached the playoffs in each of the past three seasons with the veteran at the helm.
Following consecutive first-round exits in the playoffs, however, Tannehill’s seat is expected to get warm if he cannot effectively turn the tide in 2022. The Titans went ahead and selected Willis as a contingency plan of sorts, knowing the rookie will have time develop in their system for a year before potentially becoming the QB of Tennessee’s future.