Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis is considered one of the best prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class at his position. He’s set to enter the NFL after a highly-productive four-year college career, spending time at Penn State and Kentucky.
Levis may not be viewed as the top or even second-best quarterback prospect in this year’s pool of talent, but he’s still very highly regarded as a player deserving of a first-round selection. While Levis slipped under the radar a bit, falling behind the likes of Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, there’s a case to be made that the Newton, Massachusetts native has one of, if not the strongest arm in the class.
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Yet, simply having a cannon arm doesn’t get you far at the next level. Just ask former first-overall picks like JaMarcus Russell. But Levis isn’t just a big arm. He also has an impressive amount of athleticism that allows him to make off-schedule plays, which is a near-must for top QB prospects in the modern era.
So, Levis has a big arm, he’s mobile, and has true NFL size that cannot be questioned. Why isn’t he perceived as a top-three pick?
Our Will Levis NFL Draft profile examines his resumé, scouting report, and measurables while also projecting his future.
Will Levis measurements
- CJ Stroud height: 6-foot-4
- CJ Stroud weight: 229 pounds
- CJ Stroud hand size: 10 5/8 inches
Let’s dive into Sportsnaut’s Will Levis draft profile.
Will Levis stats and background
It’s amazing that we’re even discussing Levis as a first-round prospect right now. Few could have predicted this back in high school when he committed to Penn State as a three-star recruit despite already being 6-foot-4.
He didn’t exactly take the world by storm with the Nittany Lions either, as Levis redshirted in his freshman year before backing up Sean Clifford for the next two seasons. This led Levis to transfer to Kentucky, where he was immediately thrust into the starting lineup.
Once he was under center, there was no holding Levis back. He threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns in his debut, but that was just a glimpse of what was to come.
|Will Levis stats||QB Rating||TD – INT||TD % – INT %||Completion %||PFF Grade|
|2021||148.3||24 – 13||6.7% – 3.6%||66%||90.6|
|2022||151.9||19 – 10||6.7% – 3.5%||65.4%||68.6|
As you can see, Levis battled inconsistency facing the nation’s top talent playing in the SEC. He has all the tools, but Levis still needs to work on reducing his turnover-worthy throws. Whether it’s becoming more accurate or simply gaining experience at the next level, Levis will need to learn how to keep the ball out of harm’s way.
There isn’t really one area of the field where Levis struggles or is drastically better in. He flourished throwing to deep and intermediate areas of the field in 2021 but did a lot of shorter throws near the sticks as a senior.
Levis has a quick release, which should allow him to squeeze passes into tight windows, using his excellent arm strength, but like most young passers, he struggles under pressure.
- Will Levis stats vs pressure (2022): 4-2 TD-INT, 90.1 QB rating, 9.2 YPA
- Will Levis vs clean pocket (’22): 15-8 TD-INT, 102.7 QB rating, 8.2 YPA
Related: NFL Draft 2023: Exec says CJ Stroud has skills similar to 2022 MVP finalist
While we would have liked to see Levis build upon his performance in 2021, he’s at least shown flashes of being an excellent quarterback. Boasting an arm that can clearly make all the throws, Levis has given scouts enough reason to be enthusiastic about what he could do at the next level.
Statistics courtesy of College Football Reference, ESPN, and Pro Football Focus
Scouting Kentucky Wildcats QB Will Levis
A quick glance at the Will Levis scouting report features a lot to like. No one will ever accuse Levis of having a noodle arm or say he’s not athletic enough to move around in the pocket and even make a few defenders look foolish on the fly.
Yet, just because he can move around, it doesn’t mean Levis still can’t improve his awareness and ability to anticipate the pass rush.
Yet, pocket awareness is a weakness that can actually be trained and improved with coaching and experience. Meanwhile, it’s not like you can teach a player to have a much stronger arm. As much as there’s room to grow operating from within the pocket, he also has the capability of leading a high-powered offense that can hit deep shots down the field, much like we love seeing from the top QBs of today’s brightest stars.
But how consistently can Levis hit his mark? Leading into the NFL Combine, accuracy was certainly an area scouts were curious about with the former Kentucky product. Yet, in addition to showing off his impressive zip, Levis did not disappoint when it came to checking the box when it comes to delivering accurate passes on time.
In the end, we’ve seen Levis show that he can do it all on the football field. If you’re an NFL team, who needs to find a future at QB, why not Levis? In another year, where there isn’t a Heisman-winning QB from a top school in the nation, along with another highly-touted prospect from Ohio State, maybe Levis would be in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick. He certainly has the physical makeup.
- Will Levis draft grade: 82/100
- Will Levis draft projection: Top 10 pick
You can be sure at least a few NFL teams have already fallen in love with Levis’s skill set. He may need more polishing, but that’s what coaches are for. As long as he’s coachable and placed in a system that is prepared to get the most out of his strong arm while helping him build confidence by stringing together completions, Levis can have a long and successful NFL career.
Projecting Will Levis’s NFL career
As mentioned, what could ultimately make or break Levis at the next level may just be the type of environment he’s placed in. Unlike the QBs expected to be top-three picks, Levis may have the ‘advantage’ of landing with a team like the Las Vegas Raiders or Indianapolis Colts. Both of these teams have an offensive-minded head coach and are desperately seeking a franchise solution at QB.
In Las Vegas, Levis would be under the tutelage of Josh McDaniels, who has years of experience working with Tom Brady and a season each with Mac Jones and Derek Carr. Yet, he’s never had a QB with as big of an arm as Levis. Plus, Levis would get to pair with three Pro Bowl pass-catchers with Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow.
No matter where Levis ends up, he may have the ability to elevate the entire offense thanks to being able to make throws many others can’t. Like every other prospect in the NFL Draft, Levis is far from a sure thing, but for teams who don’t have their QB of the future in place, it would seem foolish to pass on the chance to potentially land a superstar.
It’s hard to envision Levis slipping out of the top ten. From there, how little or how much success he has will be up to the team who selects him. In an ideal world, the 24-year-old (in June) will join an offense that offers playmakers who can create enough separation to take advantage of his rocket arm. Yet if they don’t also help Levis become more consistent, both with his accuracy and ability to identify the blitz, his career may never get off the ground.
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