When could Malik Willis get picked in the NFL draft?


The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft came and went on Thursday night with just one quarterback coming off the board.

And it took 20 picks for that signal caller to hear his name called.

The Pittsburgh Steelers nabbed Pitt product Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall selection, ending the longest QB drought to start an NFL draft since the San Francisco 49ers picked Jim Druckenmiller 26th in 1997. It was the first time that only one quarterback was selected in Round 1 since 2013, when the Buffalo Bills grabbed EJ Manuel 16th.

While we knew coming in this wasn't the strongest QB class, it was still a surprise to see Pickett as the only one taken through 32 picks. And of the top quarterbacks who went unselected, one stood out above the rest as the most noteworthy omission.

Did Malik Willis get drafted?

Forget just the quarterback prospects, no single prospect was more surprising to see go undrafted in the first round than Malik Willis.

The dual-threat QB out of Liberty, who had a strong showing at the combine, was considered a consensus first-round pick and by some as the top player at his position. Yet he was one of four players in the green room without a new team by the end of Thursday, along with linebacker Nakobe Dean, cornerback Kyler Gordon and fellow quarterback Matt Corral.

With Willis still available, there's now a ton of extra intrigue surrounding Day 2 of the draft.

What's the order of the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft?

The good news for Willis entering Friday night's second and third rounds? He might not have too much longer of a wait.

Here's a look at the first 15 selections of Round 2:

33. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

34. Minnesota Vikings

35. Tennessee Titans

36. New York Giants

37. Houston Texans

38. New York Jets

39. Chicago Bears

40. Seattle Seahawks

41. Seattle Seahawks

42. Indianapolis Colts

43. Atlanta Falcons

44. Cleveland Browns

45. Baltimore Ravens

46. Detroit Lions

47. Washington Commanders

You can make the case for the first five teams set to be on the clock as fits for Willis.

Unless it's Kyle Trask, the Bucs don't have a successor for the 44-year-old Tom Brady, who briefly went into retirement this offseason and can hit free agency next offseason. Ryan Tannehill is only under contract through 2023 (with a potential out in his deal for that year, too) and Tennessee lacks a quarterback of the future. Kirk Cousins is also signed through 2023 and hasn't even enjoyed much success in Minnesota.

The Giants just declined Daniel Jones' fifth-year option on Thursday and have a new regime in town. And while Davis Mills showed flashes as a rookie, he certainly hasn't solidified himself as the long-term answer in Houston.

Should Willis make it past the first five picks, the Seahawks would be the next logical destination. Seattle, which owns back-to-back picks at Nos. 40 and 41, has a Russell Wilson-sized hole at the quarterback position after dealing the nine-time Pro Bowler to the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks' current QB room looks like this: Drew Lock, Geno Smith and Jacob Eason.

Behind Seattle, the Colts, Falcons, Lions, Commanders and Saints (No. 49) could be lurking as trade-up threats for Willis. Indy and Washington both acquired a veteran QB this offseason, but Matt Ryan is about to turn 37 and it wouldn't hurt to have an insurance policy for Carson Wentz, who is coming off a couple of rough seasons. Meanwhile, Atlanta (Marcus Mariota), Detroit (Jared Goff) and New Orleans (Jameis Winston) all have a stop-gap quarterback.

They aren't scheduled to pick again until the fourth round, but the Carolina Panthers have to also be mentioned as a trade-up possibility. The Panthers' quarterback situation is unresolved after the Sam Darnold and Cam Newton experiments failed last season.

The Bucs, who didn't pick in Round 1, are the only one of the 12 previously mentioned teams who opted not to select Willis in the first round, with a few teams even passing on him twice. However, now that we're onto Day 2, the prospect of getting a potential star QB may be too good to pass up again.

And assuming Willis is the next signal caller off the board, the quarterback focus will then shift to Corral, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell and Carson Strong.

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