Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) throws a pass during practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

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QB Malik Willis, Titans agree to contract terms

Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis agreed to the terms of his rookie deal, putting the entire nine-member 2022 class under contract on the day rookies are set to report to training camp, the team said Saturday.

The Titans drafted Willis in the third round (86th overall) out of Liberty University.

Willis, 23, has backed up incumbent starter Ryan Tannehill and Logan Woodside during Tennessee’s offseason workouts and minicamp.

Willis broke his own single-season touchdown record at Liberty in 2021, accounting for 27 passing and 13 rushing TDs.

He was responsible for 65.9 percent of the Flames’ total of 5,671 yards, throwing for 2,857 yards and running for 878 more on 197 carries.

The veterans are scheduled to report to training camp on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (QB16) goes through a drill during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks nowhere to be found in 2nd round of NFL draft

On a night when many anticipated an early run on quarterbacks, NFL teams instead turned to virtually every other position.

Teams that seemingly needed a young quarterback such as the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons both passed twice on drafting a signal-caller in round two of the NFL draft Friday night.

That left QBs such as Liberty’s Malik Willis, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and North Carolina’s Sam Howell all waiting to hear their name called as the Las Vegas event moved into round three.

One of the most popular positions once again was wide receiver, as seven were picked in the second round after six wideouts were chosen in Thursday’s first round.

Only one quarterback was chosen in the first round — Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began Round 2 by choosing Houston defensive end Logan Hall. The pick originally belonged to the Jacksonville Jaguars before they moved up six slots in a trade with Tampa Bay on Thursday evening, allowing Tampa Bay to kick off Thursday night’s action.

The Green Bay Packers then traded up to select Aaron Rodgers’ newest weapon, North Dakota State wideout Christian Watson. The Packers sent two second-round picks (Nos. 53 and 59) to the Minnesota Vikings to move up for Watson.

Two picks later, the New York Jets traded up with their crosstown rival Giants to choose Iowa State’s Breece Hall, the first running back off the board in the 2022 draft. Thursday marked the first time since 2014 that no running back was selected in the opening round.

Many expected Seattle to choose a quarterback with either the 40th or 41st pick with Russell Wilson now in Denver. However, the Seahawks opted to go with a pair of Big Ten standouts — Minnesota linebacker Boye Mafe and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III.

Meanwhile, Atlanta had a pair of second-round picks and chose two defensive players — Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie at No. 38 and Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen 20 picks later.

The New England Patriots (Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton at No. 50), Pittsburgh Steelers (Georgia’s George Pickens at No. 52) and Kansas City Chiefs (Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore at No. 54) chose wide receivers in Round 2.

–Field Level Media

Michigan State Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III (9) runs past Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Jerron Cage (86) during the first quarter of the NCAA football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

Michigan State Spartans At Ohio State Buckeyes Football

NFL Draft: Best available prospects entering Day 2

The 2022 NFL Draft is 32 picks old, but another 230 lie ahead across Friday and Saturday.

The draft resumes in Las Vegas on Friday at 7 p.m. ET with the start of the second round, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the 33rd overall pick after a trade Thursday with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s our overview of the best prospects who still remain on the board with Day 1 in the rearview mirror.

1. Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
One of the most well-rounded players left in the draft, Muma is a do-it-all defender who has the athleticism to play in space and the physicality to take on blockers.

2. Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
The top tight end in the class, McBride’s lack of elite receiving upside kept him out of Day 1, but he should hear his name called early on Day 2.

3. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
A gunslinger with all-world tools but an extreme lack of polish. Willis makes a lot of sense as a developmental pick in the early second.

4. Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Workhorse backs don’t come around often, but Walker has the traits to be one. He is a savvy runner who can make defenders miss and create his own yardage.

5. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
A blazing fast 4.44 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine matched the on-field showings from the uber-athletic Harris. His potential is sky high.

6. Drake Jackson, OLB, Southern California
Jackson is long and limber with the flexibility to slip past blocks. He could contribute immediately as a rookie pass-rusher.

7. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Looming injury questions may be the root of Booth’s fall out of the first round. If he returns fully healthy, he could make teams regret passing on him.

8. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
Gordon is a natural mover with great agility and body control for the position. His upside will likely draw a premium pick on Day 2.

9. Jaquan Brisker, SS, Penn State
Big, fast, and physical. Brisker isn’t an elite matchup piece, but he has the traits to be a long-term starter and mean run defender.

10. Logan Hall, DT, Houston
Tweeners who aren’t clear-cut defensive tackles scare some NFL teams, but Hall’s body control and refined pass-rush package are likely to get a bite.

11. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
12. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
13. Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLA
14. Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
15. Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
16. Nick Cross, FS, Maryland
17. Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
18. David Ojabo, OLB, Michigan
19. George Pickens, WR, Georgia
20. Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
21. Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
22. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
23. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
24. Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
25. DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M
26. Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
27. Brian Asamoah II, LB, Oklahoma
28. Jalen Pitre, SS, Baylor
29. Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
30. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

–By Mark Jarvis, Field Level Media

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (QB16) goes through a drill during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Willis favored over Kenny Pickett to be first QB taken in draft

The oddsmakers like Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to be the first quarterback selected in this week’s NFL draft.

The margin between Willis and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is close, but Willis is the narrow favorite at multiple sportsbooks as of Tuesday, two days before the first round is held in Las Vegas.

Willis was the -190 favorite at DraftKings, with Pickett also owning reasonably short odds at +170. At BetMGM, Willis opened at -155 and Pickett was next at +130.

Then there is a considerable gap between them and the third option, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. Ridder stood at +800 at BetMGM and +1000 at DraftKings. Matt Corral of Ole Miss was fourth (+1600 at BetMGM, +1800 at DraftKings).

Willis led the Flames in both passing and rushing in 2021, putting up 2,857 passing yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 878 yards and 13 more scores. He guided the Flames to an 8-5 record and a 56-20 victory in the LendingTree Bowl over Eastern Michigan.

Pickett burst onto the national scene in his senior season, leading Pitt to its first ACC championship and being named a Heisman Trophy finalist. He ranked fifth in the nation in passing yards (4,319) and third in passing touchdowns (42).

The top five teams in the draft order — the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets and New York Giants — are not expected to take a quarterback. The Carolina Panthers, at No. 6 overall, are the first team that may be interested in a quarterback.

The Atlanta Falcons (eighth overall) and Seattle Seahawks (ninth) are also in the market for a quarterback after trading away Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson, respectively.

–Field Level Media