This has been one of the most interesting lead-ups to an NFL Draft in recent memory. This is partly because there isn’t an Andrew Luck or a Joe Burrow — or even a clear-cut No. 1 pick — in this class.
But all that mystery has made the NFL Draft odds market for quarterbacks an intriguing one. Malik Willis is the betting favorite to be the first quarterback selected. But the question is when will the big-armed signal-caller get selected? Spoiler alert, but we like him going second in our latest NFL Mock Draft, which is much earlier than his prop.
Draft position props are quickly becoming one of the most popular NFL Draft betting options and Willis might have one of the most interesting numbers on the betting board.
NFL Draft 2022 Malik Willis draft position odds
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of April 26, 2022
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NFL Draft 2022 Malik Willis draft position pick
- Malik Willis draft position Under 12.5 (+110)
Pick made on April 26, 2022.
Liberty signal-caller Malik Willis has become the betting favorite to become the first quarterback selected on Thursday night, ahead of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Mississippi’s Matt Corral.
And it's pretty simple as to why. While Willis may be a project, he appears to be the only quarterback in this class who has a chance to be a difference-maker on an NFL field.
Now, Willis is raw, and there is some tape of him from this season that is not flattering. Detractors will say he couldn’t even win his biggest games at Liberty. Well, that sounds a lot like another recently-drafted quarterback from another small school — Josh Allen.
Like Allen, Willis has a huge arm, the best in this class. He has a quick release, does well under pressure, and he can make all the expected NFL throws. His throwing accuracy could use some improvement, but that will be fixable with the right staff. Plus, he’s nearly as dynamic running the ball out of the backfield as a quarterback from the 2018 draft class — Lamar Jackson.
But the market still doesn’t know what to do with Willis. The Over/Under on his draft position has been listed as high as 15.5 and as low as 9.5. This means a lot of really smart people aren’t really sure what will happen.
Let me tell you why the Under 12.5 at plus-money is the play here.
For starters, I think there are four reasonable landing spots for Willis in the Top 9 picks: the Detroit Lions at No. 2, the Carolina Panthers at 6, the Atlanta Falcons at 8, and the Seattle Seahawks at 9. Heck, you can even make a case for the Commanders taking him at 11.
If anyone needs to take a chance on a quarterback with Willis' upside, it’s the Lions, and what do they have to lose? Plus, their coaching staff apparently fell in love with him at the Senior Bowl and they’ll have the option to sit him behind Jared Goff for a season.
The Panthers struck out in the free-agent QB market and the Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson eras are over in Atlanta and Seattle, respectively. Of these teams, the Falcons make a ton of sense as Willis hails from Atlanta.
Additionally, there are teams like the Saints and Steelers who have also expressed interest in Willis, but it sounds like they are aware that he won’t be there when their first picks come around at 16 and 20 overall. So, they would need to trade up.
Luckily for them, there are also several trade-down candidates in the first round, particularly the Jets and Giants, who both have multiple picks in the Top 10. Both of those teams would love to keep stockpiling picks.
Quarterbacks rule the NFL and the draft, and I don’t see one as talented as Willis dropping out of the Top 10.