Malik Willis dazzles in his preseason debut for the Titans

Malik Willis - Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
Malik Willis - Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports /

Rookie quarterback Malik Willis wasted no time putting on a show in his preseason debut for the Tennessee Titans, showcasing his arm and legs.

There were only a couple of NFL preseason games on the slate for Thursday night, but one of the most highly anticipated debuts was that of Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis. Willis was projected by many as a first-round pick coming out of Liberty and shockingly ended up having to wait until the third round to hear his name called.

Still very hard to believe.

Regardless, the fact that the entire NFL passed on Willis for most of the first three rounds is irrelevant now that he’s a member of the Titans and will get the chance to let his play on the field do the talking.

And let his play do the talking, he did.

Malik Willis was impressive in Titans preseason opener

First of all, with his legs. We know Willis is a dynamic playmaker who can absolutely crush a defensive game plan with his ability to make plays as a runner. He did exactly that and even got by first-round pick Kyle Hamilton for a rushing touchdown.

This is just great stuff. It looks like the Titans were running a designed running play or option play for Malik Willis here, and he just sort of improvises based on how the defense reacts. Regardless of the play call, Willis showed off his wheels here and the ability to finish off a drive with a touchdown off-script.

The play from this preseason game that might have the NFL community buzzing, though? This absolute rocket from Willis off of play-action.

He steps up in the pocket for this throw and delivers an absolute strike deep downfield. We all know that Willis undoubtedly has one of the best arms of the entire 2022 rookie class and he put that on display here. He’s also got the ability to change his arm slot and keep the chains moving with pressure in his face.

If you’re the Tennessee Titans, what more could you really ask from Malik Willis in his preseason debut? He put all of his best traits on display and finished with 107 passing yards, 38 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and two sacks.

The Ravens were bringing plenty of pressure on Willis but he did a good job responding to that pressure and making some things happen.

Not bad for a third-round pick.

I don’t think there’s anything to be determined off of one preseason appearance, but you’d certainly rather have Willis out there doing this kind of stuff than struggling or making bad mistakes. For now, the Titans can feel really good about Willis’ potential and really good about the fact that they stole him in round three.