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NCAAF - US Sports: Willis expects to be first QB drafted

Liberty's Malik Willis believes he should be the first quarterback selected in April's NFL draft, although he admits he needs to work on some aspects of his game.

Willis, 33/1 to be the first name called on stage in Paradise, Nevada next month, will showcase his arm talent at the NFL Combine on Thursday, although he won't participate in some of the key physical drills like the 40-yard dash.

High on many lists

The 22-year-old threw for 2,857 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and rushed for 878 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in 2021.

He then took a big step forward in terms of his draft ranking when impressing at the Senior Bowl, although some still choose to denigrate Willis on the basis of his below-par 61.1 completion percentage for the Flames last year.

But, having almost written off his NFL chances when he transferred from Auburn to the smaller, non-Power 5 school in Virginia, he isn't going to be fazed by the criticism.

"Somebody's always going to think [you're] trash," Willis said in a 15-minute interview on Wednesday, via ESPN. "That's just the way the game goes. It is what it is. I'm going to just keep on going. I'm not playing for their approval.

"I think so, but I don't make those decisions," he added when asked if he should be the first QB taken off the board.

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Accuracy being worked on

The quarterback admits he's addressing his accuracy ahead of the draft by working on his footwork and lower-body alignment in his throwing motion.

"That's where some of the flaws in my game come from, maybe some inaccuracies," he added "It's just from footwork. It's not from just being inaccurate. They can just say I can't throw, whatever."

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who are looking to add two new quarterbacks this offseason, are tipped to make a move for Willis and general manager Kevin Colbert met him in Indianapolis this week.

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