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Irish YJ

2019 Pre-Season Outlook/Poll: Khari Willis

2019 Pre-Season Outlook/Poll: Khari Willis  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. In your opinion, what choice will best describe Khari's rookie season

    • Day 1 starter, contention for Pro-Bowl, Rookie of the Year type season
      0
    • Day 1 Starter, solid season
      0
    • Will start at some point in the first half of the season
    • Will start at some point in the second half of the season
    • Will be a quality back up and/or scheme/situational player
    • Gets playing time, special teams, but nothing special
    • Makes the 53, but struggles to dress or get playing time
    • Makes the practice squad
    • Cut/Waived
      0
  2. 2. How do feel about his draft position (109th) now that you've had a chance to get to know Khari

    • Great value at 109
    • He went about where he should have
    • He would have been available for a later pick (projected 5th, took in the 4th)
  3. 3. We only kept two SSs on the 53 man roster last year. Can Khari beat out Geathers or Kindred?

    • Yes
    • No
    • We'll keep 3 SSs this year, and he'll be one.
    • The Colts will look at him as a flex S (FS/SS), and he'll be one of the 5 Ss kept.


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NFL.com's Profile

 

Draft Grade: 5.30 NFL BACKUP OR SPECIAL TEAMS POTENTIAL

Draft Projection: Round 5

College: Mich St

Position: S

Height: 5-11

Weight: 213

40 Time: 4.52

 

 

BIO:

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.

 

Overview:

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 .

 

Strengths:

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

 

Weaknesses:

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

 


 

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I think he’s a ST’s guy almost exclusively year 1. If Geathers goes down he might split some time with Kindred. We’ll see though 

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18 minutes ago, Defjamz26 said:

I think he’s a ST’s guy almost exclusively year 1. If Geathers goes down he might split some time with Kindred. We’ll see though 

It's going to be interesting. Can't remember if it was Ballard or Reich that talked about him being more than just a box safety. Regardless, he's definitely not a FS...... It's going to be a battle for him to make the 53, especially if we only keep two SSs. It's not like Kindred is a lock though. 

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14 hours ago, Irish YJ said:

It's going to be interesting. Can't remember if it was Ballard or Reich that talked about him being more than just a box safety. Regardless, he's definitely not a FS...... It's going to be a battle for him to make the 53, especially if we only keep two SSs. It's not like Kindred is a lock though. 

Probably someone they feel can play some dime LB too. They seem to value safeties who can sit in the box and make tackles.

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13 hours ago, Defjamz26 said:

Probably someone they feel can play some dime LB too. They seem to value safeties who can sit in the box and make tackles.

i just don't see him as a 5th or 6th DB. 

love his leadership/character, just doesn't wow me physically vs the competition. 

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21 hours ago, Irish YJ said:

i just don't see him as a 5th or 6th DB. 

love his leadership/character, just doesn't wow me physically vs the competition. 

Agreed. Yeah he’s an underwhelming prospect overall. Which is surprising because he seemed to be the opposite trend of the players we drafted. 

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They brought Geathers back on a 1 year deal, I don’t foresee him being resigned after this year unless he has an IMPECCABLE season. It looks like they drafted Willis as his eventual replacement. 

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On 7/19/2019 at 8:59 PM, Defjamz26 said:

Agreed. Yeah he’s an underwhelming prospect overall. Which is surprising because he seemed to be the opposite trend of the players we drafted. 

I think perhaps they were dead set on getting a S in the draft, and he was simply the best of what was left. The stats around TE yards vs our D might have been the driver. Kindred is not a guarantee, so perhaps he can dig deep and find a fit within the scheme. Tough road.

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21 hours ago, Irish YJ said:

I think perhaps they were dead set on getting a S in the draft, and he was simply the best of what was left. The stats around TE yards vs our D might have been the driver. Kindred is not a guarantee, so perhaps he can dig deep and find a fit within the scheme. Tough road.

He certainly does have a tough road ahead. Hopefully he can outplay his draft position though. Geathers was also a 4th round pick. 

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20 minutes ago, Defjamz26 said:

He certainly does have a tough road ahead. Hopefully he can outplay his draft position though. Geathers was also a 4th round pick. 

I think Geathers was a very different player though. 3 inches taller, better vert, and more agile. Geathers was a 4 year starter, and averaged over 100 Ts/yr his final 3 years. Willis was a full time starter for 2 years and averaged 74 Ts those years. Geathers only crime IMO is that he came from Central Florida. Not saying that Geathers is a rock star at all, just that he probably had a higher ceiling coming into the league, and had more production.

 

Willis could potentially excel in our system, but he's got an uphill climb. Kindred doesn't wow me, so perhaps Willis can rise to the occasion.

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