Don’t ever let anyone tell you to be yourself. You never know what people will find weird about your “personality.” I ate peanut butter and cheese tacos as a kid, but I would never broadcast that if I was projected to be a first round pick in the NFL. According to the experts — Mel Kiper and some Redditor, specifically — Will Levis was likely to be the second quarterback selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the only possible reason for him to drop to day two was his love of mayo in his coffee.
General managers will knock prospects for anything, up to and including their performance on made up standardized tests. Inconsistency, inaccuracy, eye test, and collegiate success aside, I blame the Hellmans-Folgers mochaccinos for multiple teams in need of a QB passing on the Kentucky product.
Will Levis scouting report: Biggest strengths
Just one look at Levis and you see a prototype for the traditional NFL quarterback. He has the height, the frame and he’s clearly built strongly. Moreover, his arm strength is one of his biggest assets as the power he can put behind any throw is exceptionally evident throughout his film and in his pre-draft workouts like at the combine and his pro day.
Levis isn’t a freak athlete, but he’s a strong capable athlete. His height and frame allow him to be a nice, calm presence in the pocket when under duress, which is a good asset to have from a signal-caller. He also showed numerous instances throughout his college career of making plays despite having lesser-than talent around him at times, which is another plus attribute for the QB.
Will Levis scouting report: Biggest weaknesses
Accuracy and touch are the biggest questions about Levis’ game. With the howitzer he has connected at the shoulder, there are numerous instances throughout his film of the quarterback failing to simply throw a changeup instead of a fastball and, as a result, missing his spots in the short and intermediate areas. That could be a real problem, especially for a quarterback who is already 24 years old.
Just as importantly, Levis was quite simply never all that productive in college. He was beat out at Penn State by Sean Clifford, a potential UDFA in the 2023 draft class, and then never eclipsed 3,000 yards or more than 24 touchdowns in any season in college. Even playing in the SEC, that lack of production is concerning.
“You don’t know who to trust this time of year, but apparently it was true — (Levis) came off as kind of not having the ideal personality and maybe some arrogance and cockiness in his meetings,” McShay said. “That’s a team-by-team basis. But ultimately, the turnovers and the style of play, too, is an issue. Because he plays the quarterback position as a linebacker.”
“A lot of teams I talked to were worried that he’s going to be a Carson Wentz case when it’s all said and done if he doesn’t learn how to protect his body better.”
Levis wowed scouts during the pre-draft process with his strong arm and prototypical NFL build, but his lack of success in college at Kentucky became a hot point for scrutiny in the weeks leading to the draft.
Still, his odds of going high in the draft, even No. 1 overall, skyrocketed earlier this week when a thread on Reddit suggested he had been told he would be taken with the Carolina Panthers’ top pick.
Levis was among 17 players invited to attend the first round in Kansas City. Only four of those players didn’t hear their name called Levis, Alabama defensive back Brian Branch, Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and Georgia Tech defensive end Keion White.
Levis, who is 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds, has drawn comparisons to Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen with his strong arm and above-average mobility. Levis spent the first two years of his college career at Penn State before transferring to Kentucky as a junior. His production fell off this past season as a senior, when he passed for 2,406 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions after throwing for 2,826 yards, 24 TDs and 13 interceptions in 2021.
But Levis’ completion percentage was nearly identical 65.4% as a senior after 66.0% as a junior. He also rushed for nine touchdowns as a junior but managed just two rushing scores last season.
Who will draft Will Levis on Day 2?
There weren’t many landing spots for Levis in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, but there will be more for him on Day 2.
Quarterback-needy teams that have already addressed their biggest needs will be more willing to take a player like Levis with hopes of developing him behind the scenes. Being a second-round quarterback comes with less pressure than being a first-round pick, so that could work to Levis’ benefit as he adjusts to the NFL.
The Falcons are turning to 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder as their starter in 2023 and signed Taylor Heinicke to back him up. That said, they still might be able to find room for Levis, who could challenge Ridder for the starting job while Heinicke remains the team’s backup. Maybe that would clutter Atlanta’s depth chart a bit too much, but if they like Levis, they won’t hesitate to take him here.
The Commanders are in a similar situation to the Falcons. They have a young player, Sam Howell, set to start for them and a seasoned veteran, Jacoby Brissett, set to compete with him. Levis could add another potential-packed passer to that competition, and the team’s new ownership group might be happy to have a new quarterback in the fold.
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