Draft Grade: 5.30 NFL BACKUP OR SPECIAL TEAMS POTENTIAL
Draft Projection: Round 5
College: Mich St
40 Time: 4.52
Willis was named the Ann Arbor News Michigan High School Player of the Year in 2014 as a running back after he covered nearly 3,000 yards on the ground and scored 31 touchdowns. He didn't end up at Ann Arbor for college, signing with Sparty. Willis started 3 of 9 games played as a true freshman (11 tackles), but his season ended before the Big Ten Championship Game due to a broken foot. He started one game in 2016, making 30 tackles in 11 contests overall. An opening occurred in MSU's secondary for 2017, and Willis took advantage. He garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors that season, accumulating 71 tackles, 5.5 for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, and three pass breakups. He repeated his honorable mention all-conference performance as a senior, posting 84 tackles, two interceptions, and 10 pass breakups in 13 starts for the Spartans.
Team leader known for his leadership and work ethic, Willis has been a reliable performer with a good nose for the football. However, he's an average athlete with below-average speed who needs to keep plays in front of him, so finding a roster spot on the next level could be a challenge. His high football character and consistent effort level, give him a shot at finding work as a backup with special teams value .
Praised for exceptional character
Good size with compact build and desired play strength
Plays with consistent motor and effort all game long
Runs the alley with accurate map to the ball carrier
Reliable and plays under control
Reads quarterback's eyes for early indicators in coverage
Sees the entire field from deep safety
Handled some slot cover duties in sub-packages
Good awareness from short zone and responds quickly to throws
Below-average athlete lacking explosiveness
Top-end speed is a concern
Struggles to range over the top from deep zone
Slow to open hips and sprint with early speed
Tight strider with below-average burst to close
Limited lateral agility to maintain man coverage
Very modest ball production
I like that there's evidently a clear plan for developing and using him, and I think that's true for everyone they added this year. We'll see how it plays out, but I expect that they'll be trying to put guys in position to excel, not trying to force them to do something they aren't good at.
I think this shows with the Funchess signing. Definitely not my favorite acquisition, and I wanted them to go in a different direction, but Warren Sharp posted splits showing how Funchess performed on certain routes, and compared it with how Luck produces when throwing to those routes. It seems like an ideal match for our offense, and I think the front office and coaching staff identified that together, and went out and got him. I don't think they'll ask him to be a downfield burner, I think they're going to use him on curls, outs, and maybe slants, and I think it's going to add a dimension to the offense, especially on big downs when defenses play tight man coverage.
If they took a similar approach with the players they drafted -- what's the plan for this guy on our team, and how do we develop his traits so that he can excel in this role? -- it will show in the way they use them right away. Tell, Campbell, Willis, Banogu... all have traits that can be tapped into right away.
So I'm a little confused now. Are you basing your views on the roster that the QB is playing with instead of the QB himself? I don't see how you can say the AFC championship game on only had "3 great players."
If you ask me has Luck done more with less then some other QB's then that answer is 100% yes. But your question is How do you view Andrew without a championship?
Not how Andrew Luck will be viewed because he doesn't have great teams around him.
1. If my aunt had a set, she'd be my uncle. Marino didn't win 6 so who cares?
2. The larger point is I am lost on your arm talent argument. Who cares who had the best arm? That is only one small component of what makes an elite level QB. Greg Maddux is a HoF pitcher and he had not close to the velocity of Kyle Farnsworth, who can only get into the HoF if he bought a ticket. In an NFL comparison, Joe Montana did not have near the arm that Marino or Elway did but he is clearly among the best QB's ever to play the game.
3. I don't care about the Colts 2014 roster. I know who was on the team and I don't think they would have been a good match up for the 1970 Steelers. I am simply saying that you don't really know if it was the worst roster to make the AFCCG in history. It's over an over the top argument simply made to prove a point you can't make otherwise.