Quarterback Malik Willis just wants to score points in the NFL

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
Liberty QB Malik Willis, a native of metro Atlanta, downplays the opinions of his critics as he participates in NFL scouting combine.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

INDIANAPOLIS — Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who played at Roswell and Westlake high schools, was asked what type of offense would fit his skills best.

“One that scores points,” Willis quipped during his packed media session Wednesday.

Willis started his career at Auburn but couldn’t get on the field.

ExploreThe AJC at the NFL scouting combine

Willis transferred to Liberty and refined his mechanics. His career took off, and he’s developed into a dual-threat quarterback with speed.

“Definitely my footwork and trying to be consistent as I can with my base,” Willis said of his areas needing improvement. “That was one of the flaws in my game.”

Willis doesn’t believe he has to display his accuracy at the combine.

The AJC at the NFL scouting combine

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“Just the footwork,” Willis said. “It’s not being inaccurate or worry about the people that say I can’t throw or whatever.”

Willis played well at the Senior Bowl and can impress more teams at the combine.

“I just think we have (more of a) high-level meeting in the rooms than what it was like at the Senior Bowl,” Willis said. “It was a lot of scouts at the Senior Bowl. I’ve been talking to coaches … in these (combine) meetings.”

Hand size

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett is set to have his hands measured Thursday.

He’s been doing exercises to widen his hands.

“The reason why I didn’t measure at the Senior Bowl was to have those extra couple weeks,” Pickett said. “Just a common-sense thing, having more time to work the exercises. Whatever it measures, it measures.”

Most NFL teams prefer their quarterbacks have a hand size of at least 9.5 inches. Cold-weather teams look at hand size because it can be an indicator of ball security.

Well, like I say, with any measurable, it’s all a piece of the puzzle, right?” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said. “It’s all a part of it, any measurable, any statistic, it’s all a part of the evaluation. But there’s never going to be one thing that that makes the decision.”

So, what are the exercises?

“I don’t know what they’re called,” Pickett said. “I’m not the doctor that does it. It’s just kind of working the stretch. I can’t really explain it.”

Track meet

The quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends will work through their drills starting at 4 p.m. Thursday on NFL Network.

The tight ends will start their day at the weightlifting bench at 10 a.m.

Willis plans to just throw and not do any of the drills or get measured.

Quotable

The Falcons are $7 million over the projected salary cap of $208.2 million and won’t be major players in free agency.

“We have to find value,” Fontenot said. “On Day 1 (of free agency), you’re not going to see a lot of splashy moves. ... That’s not going to happen.”

Draft headed to Green Bay?

Packers President Mark Murphy told a Green Bay TV station that Green Bay, Washington and Detroit are the finalists to host the 2024 NFL draft.

The decision will be made at the coming owners meeting in Florida.

Titans GM gets emotional

Tennessee was the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the playoffs but was vanquished by the Bengals in the divisional round as quarterback Ryan Tannehill tossed three interceptions and the Titans wasted a nine-sack performance.

Titans GM Jon Robinson got emotional when discussing the season at the combine with a small group of reporters.

“That’s what keeps me up at night,” Robinson said, before pausing for about a minute to gather himself. With tears in his eyes, he resumed.

“The trust that … (another long pause) … ownership has put in me, our fans. ... I mean that stadium was rocking ... and you only could imagine what it would have been like the next week. It’s a pretty long list of stuff that I’ve got to get better at.”

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