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Tennessee Titans reportedly not as high on Malik Willis a year after drafting him

The Tennessee Titans surprised many in the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting quarterback Malik Willis with the 86th overall pick. Nearly one year later, Willis seems to be on shaky ground with the Titans’ organization.

Tennessee traded up for Willis during the 2022 NFL Draft, packaging the 90th and 169th picks in a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. While quarterback Ryan Tannehill remained in the organization’s plans as the starter, general manager Jon Robinson wanted to take Willis for the future.

Related: Tennessee Titans may trade up in 2023 NFL Draft

The Titans knew that Willis needed time to develop. While he impressed at times with the Liberty Flames, the 6-foot-1 quarterback was raw as a passer. Tennessee hoped he could spend his rookie season learning from the coaching staff and observing Tannehill from the sideline.

  • Malik Willis stats (2022): 42.8 QB rating, 50.8% completion rate, 0-3 TD-INT, 276 passing yards, 4.9% interception rate, 4.5 yards per attempt, 1-2 record

However, the 23-year-old was forced into action early. He made three starts, including two early in the season. While the Titans went 1-1 in his first, Willis compiled just 135 passing yards on 26 attempts, completing 42.3 percent of his throws and taking six sacks.

He displayed very little improvement in his next nearly two months later, throwing two interceptions and netting just 99 passing yards on 23 attempts in a 19-14 loss to the Houston Texans. With the Titans’ playoff hopes on the brink and Tannehill sidelined, Tennessee signed Josh Dobbs and started him over Willis in the final two games.

The Titans fired Robinson during the season and hired Ran Carthon as their new general manager early this offseason. After already making sweeping changes to the roster, Tennessee is heavily scouting the 2023 quarterback prospects and it appears to be tied to the coaching staff’s lost confidence in Willis.

Related: Tennessee Titans reportedly evaluating Ryan Tannehill trade market

NFL insider Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports suggested on the You Pod to Win the Game that the Titans’ coaching staff might’ve lost some confidence in Willis’ readiness as an NFL player.

“I would just say the opinion of Mike Vrabel, maybe the coaching staff, is that he’s much further away than maybe they initially thought when Malik Willis was drafted.”

Charles Robinson on Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis

If the Titans stand pat with the 11th pick, instead of trading up, it’s unlikely that they take a quarterback with their first-round pick. However, the interest in the incoming quarterback class and the presence of two additional top-75 picks means Tennessee could add a young passer on the second day of the draft.

Related: Tennessee Titans GM addresses Derrick Henry trade rumors

Drafting a quarterback early in the 2023 NFL Draft would likely signal the end of Willis’ time in Tennessee. The Titans could shop him around the league on the third day of the draft, pushing to see what team would offer a late-round pick for him.

Willis still offers enticing physical tools and a few years of development could help him eventually become a starter. However, it’s clear the Titans now believe it was a mistake to draft Willis and the new regime is now looking for his replacement.

Related: Tennessee Titans mock draft 2023

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