Even with the new NFL rule allowing teams to have a third quarterback available on game day without taking up a roster spot, Malik Willis is fighting to keep a roster spot. The Tennessee Titans decided to take another young quarterback in the draft following Willis' rookie season, a sign that they don’t view him as an integral part of the future.
Concerns over Willis' passing abilities were proven to be right in his rookie season, where he looked incredibly raw and didn’t throw a single passing touchdown in eight games, including three starts. The Titans' addition of Will Levis spelled doom for his future with Tennessee. Although the signs are not pointing in the right direction, he has a shot.
Jim Wyatt, a senior writer/editor for the Titans website, notes that Willis' spot on the Titans is not guaranteed. But he notes that he has outplayed Levis so far this offseason.
“Malik's roster spot isn't guaranteed, even with the new rule,” Wyatt writes. “Ryan Tannehill and Will Levis will be on the 53-man roster because Tannehill is the starter, and Levis was the 33rd overall pick and he's going to be given time. So, Malik needs to keep improving, and earn his spot. Right now, I think he will be on the 53 himself, and I wasn't thinking that way the beginning of May. Malik outperformed Levis this offseason, and definitely showed improvement from a year ago. But things can change.”
The Titans used the 33rd overall pick to select Levis just a year after using the 86th pick on Willis. Both guys are 24 years old but Levis has the benefit of the doubt by being a higher draft pick. He seems like the most obvious candidate to take Tannehill's spot at some point.
Malik Willis hasn’t made a stink over the Titans' plans. He is simply focusing on what he can control and using his rookie season as a great learning experience. Even if he moves on from Tennessee, there are numerous other teams who could use a young quarterback. If his improvements are legit, though, he may be able to stick around for another season.