Since the start of draft season, the Lions have been linked to quarterbacks at No. 32 overall. But No. 2 overall? In this QB class? No one's gone that far.
Hold on a minute.
There were whispers in Indianapolis at last week's combine, according to Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus, that the Lions might go for it all and spend the No. 2 pick on Liberty QB Malik Willis.
"This weekend was the first weekend, whether it’s complete smokescreen or not, that I heard that Malik Willis, it’s not a zero percent chance that he could go two overall to the Lions," Sikkema said on the NFL Stock Exchange podcast. "That is something that I heard in Indianapolis."
Willis might be the most intriguing prospect in the draft. He has an incredibly high ceiling as a true dual-threat QB, and equally high bust potential as a raw talent who played against low-level opponents for most of his college career. Everyone agrees he's a project -- even Willis himself. The final product is the unknown.
You can't argue with his numbers, at least on the surface. Willis threw 48 touchdowns and averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and ran for 29 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards in two seasons at Liberty after transferring from Auburn. You can argue with this: in three games against ranked opponents at Liberty, he threw two touchdowns and seven picks and registered an NFL passer rating of 48.7.
Still, the talent is tantalizing. The Lions saw it first-hand when they coached Willis at the Senior Bowl last month, where he wowed with both his arm and his legs. He almost certainly won't be on the board at No. 32. So if the Lions want him, they'll either have to take the plunge at No. 2 or trade up. And if they believe in Willis as their QB of the future, they should just draft him when they can.
"I assume that with Malik Willis’ name in that kind of a conversation, his stock has to be up," said Sikkema. "And I loved his podium session, I did. I thought he was very genuine. He’s very real about himself about where he’s coming from, how much he has to grow. He’s not sitting up there thinking, 'Yeah, I’m gonna be the best starting quarterback in the NFL whenever a team chooses to start me.' He’s like, 'Look, I got a lot of work to do. I got some technique that I’ve been working on, some things that I’ve been able to get better over the last couple months, the last year.'
"But he had a confidence about him within that honesty. I think he’s a stock-up (player), anyway. I think he was always going as QB 1 in this draft, and I think this past week confirmed that for me. Yeah, I did hear the whispers of two overall. I did hear that."
Let the games begin.