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Todd McShay mocks Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to Broncos

The Denver Broncos get a project quarterback in the first round in ESPN’s Todd McShay’s latest mock draft.

NCAA Football: Liberty at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

There are multiple needs for the Denver Broncos heading into the 2022 offseason from new offensive and special teams coordinators to the ever present need at quarterback. Every week we get the ole QB graphic from networks broadcasting Denver’s games and it would be nice to see that come to end next season.

One way to do that would be to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. While it may end up being a bust pick, at least for a year we’d have a little break from the quarterback drama.

Todd McShay of ESPN gave his pick for that 2022 first round pick and he landed on Liberty quarterback Malik Willis for the Broncos at the 17th overall selection.

17. Denver Broncos (7-6)

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty*

In a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, you need a QB who can create, push the ball downfield and win offensive shootouts. I’m not sure Teddy Bridgewater (a free agent after this season) is that guy. Like a handful of teams slotted above Denver here, the offseason will bring answers of whether Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and/or Deshaun Watson will be available, and the Broncos could certainly land one of those top-tier QBs. If not, Willis can extend plays, make tight-window throws with velocity and push the ball downfield. But there are some issues that require work in Willis’ game; he threw 12 interceptions and took 50 sacks this season.

Willis would be Liberty’s second-ever pick in the first three rounds (Pittsburgh took tight end Eric Green at No. 21 in 1990).

I asked our own Scotty Payne about Willis and his fit with the Broncos and he was less than enamored. The negatives were that he is coming out of a small school, more of a runner, and raw in development. However, he is an exciting talent. Payne noted that he’d need a good offensive coordinator to fully take advantage of the skillsets Willis would bring to the table.

Willis was a playmaker in college, but his small school status will make him one of the riskier first round picks a team could make in the 2022 NFL Draft. With Denver’s history of failure developing young quarterbacks, I’m not sure I could get on board with this pick. Not because I think Willis will fail, but more because I don’t trust this franchise to actually develop him into a bona fide NFL starter.


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