The Chicago Bears are in the market for a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft, and they may have found a potential target at their local pro day on Friday.
The Bears hosted Malik Willis, the former Liberty star who is widely regarded as one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class.
Willis, who transferred from Auburn after losing the starting job to Bo Nix, had a stellar two-year career at Liberty, leading the Flames to a 18-6 record and two bowl wins.
He threw for 4,202 yards and 34 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, while also rushing for 1,413 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has a rare combination of arm strength, accuracy, mobility and creativity that has drawn comparisons to Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray.
The Bears were one of several teams that attended Willis’ pro day at Liberty last month, where he impressed scouts with his throwing ability and athleticism.
He ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and had a 36-inch vertical jump. He also showcased his arm talent by making throws to all levels of the field with ease and velocity.
However, Willis also wanted to show teams his intangibles and work ethic, which is why he accepted an invitation to participate in the Bears’ local pro day.
The local pro day is an opportunity for teams to evaluate prospects who either attended high school or college in their area. The Bears were allowed to host up to five players at their facility for interviews and workouts.
Willis said he was grateful for the chance to meet with the Bears’ coaches and staff, and to demonstrate his skills in person. He said he felt a good connection with head coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who both have experience working with dual-threat quarterbacks.
“I think they liked what they saw from me today,” Willis said. “They asked me a lot of questions about my background, my character, my football IQ, my leadership.
I think I answered them well and showed them who I am as a person and as a player. I also think they liked how I threw the ball and how I moved around.
They gave me some positive feedback and some things to work on.”. . . .
Willis said he is not concerned about where he will be drafted or what team will pick him. He said he is confident in his abilities and his potential to succeed at the next level.
He said he is willing to learn from any veteran quarterback or coach that he will be paired with.
“I’m just looking for an opportunity to play in the NFL and to prove myself,” Willis said. “I don’t care if I go in the first round or the seventh round or undrafted.
I just want a chance to compete and to grow as a player. I know I have a lot to learn and a lot to improve on, but I also know I have a lot to offer.
I’m ready for any challenge that comes my way.”. . . .
The Bears have the 20th overall pick in the first round of the draft, which begins on April 29. They also have one pick each in the second, third, fifth and sixth rounds.
They are expected to address their quarterback situation either through the draft or through a trade or free agency. They currently have Andy Dalton and Nick Foles on their roster, but neither is considered a long-term solution.
Willis said he would love to play for the Bears if they decide to draft him. He said he admires the franchise’s history and tradition, and he likes the city of Chicago.
“It would be an honor to play for the Bears,” Willis said. “They have a great organization and a great fan base. They have a lot of legends that played there, like Walter Payton and Mike Ditka and Brian Urlacher.
They have a great defense and some weapons on offense. And Chicago is a beautiful city with a lot of culture and diversity. It would be a great place to live and play.”.
Willis said he will continue to work hard and prepare for the draft, regardless of what happens. He said he is thankful for his journey so far and excited for his future.
“I’m just blessed to be in this position,” Willis said. “I’ve overcome a lot of adversity and obstacles in my life, but I never gave up on my dream. I’ve worked hard every day to get better and to prove myself.
I’ve had a lot of support from my family, my coaches, my teammates, my friends. I’m just grateful for everything that God has done for me and everything that He has planned for me.”.
Final Thoughts: Malik Willis Impresses Chicago Bears at Local Pro Day
Malik Willis, the former Liberty quarterback, showcased his skills at the Chicago Bears’ local pro day on Friday, where he had an opportunity to meet with coaches and staff, and demonstrate his throwing ability, athleticism, intangibles, and work ethic.
Willis, who is regarded as one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft, had a standout two-year career at Liberty, leading the Flames to a 18-6 record and two bowl wins, while throwing for 4,202 yards and 34 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,413 yards and 20 touchdowns.
He has been drawing comparisons to Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray due to his rare combination of arm strength, accuracy, mobility, and creativity.
The Bears, who are in the market for a quarterback in the upcoming draft, have the 20th overall pick in the first round, as well as picks in the second, third, fifth, and sixth rounds.
While they have Andy Dalton and Nick Foles on their roster, neither is considered a long-term solution, and they are expected to address their quarterback situation through the draft, a trade, or free agency.
Willis, who ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and had a 36-inch vertical jump at his pro day at Liberty last month, is a dual-threat quarterback who could fit well in the Bears’ offensive scheme under head coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, both of whom have experience working with such quarterbacks.
Willis said he felt a good connection with Nagy and Lazor during his visit to the Bears’ facility, where he was one of five players allowed to participate in interviews and workouts.
Willis’ attitude and approach to the draft process are admirable, as he is not concerned about where he will be drafted or what team will pick him, but rather he is focused on proving himself and competing at the next level.
He said he is willing to learn from any veteran quarterback or coach that he will be paired with, and he is confident in his abilities and his potential to succeed.
If the Bears decide to draft Willis, it could be a great fit for both parties, as Willis would have a chance to develop under Nagy and Lazor, and to contribute to a team that has a rich history and tradition, a great fan base, and a lot of talent on defense and offense.
However, even if Willis is not picked by the Bears, he has already shown that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL, and that he is grateful for his journey so far and excited for his future.