NFL Draft Fall Costs Malik Willis at Least $7 Million

NFL Draft Fall Costs Malik Willis at Least $7 Million article feature image

G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Malik Willis.

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis not only slipped out of the first round on Thursday night, he fell into the third round and was selected 86th overall by the Tennessee Titans.

Sportsbooks had a projected total pick of in between 13.5 and 15.5 on Willis, but obviously no teams thought that was accurate. What’s strange is that NFL executives clearly thought Willis was going to be taken sooner, or they wouldn’t have invited him to Las Vegas.

The fall cost him more than $7 million guaranteed.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, the 20th overall pick, will get roughly a $14.2 million contract from the Steelers with a signing bonus in the $7.7 million range.

At pick 86, Willis will receive a four-year deal worth roughly $5 million and a signing bonus of around $925,000.

On Thursday night, Willis was speculated to go in at least the first half of the NFL Draft. One prediction from USA Today was that the Steelers would trade up to take Willis at No. 8 overall.

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Willis' fall now overtakes Aaron Rodgers as the most famous fall in draft history. After Rodgers didn’t get picked first overall in the 2005 Draft, he was picked No. 24 by the Green Bay Packers, a 23-slot fall.

Let’s safely assume Willis’ alternate slot would have been at No. 20, where Pickett was selected. That makes Willis’ fall a drop of at least 45 slots.

Willis and Georgia’s Nakobe Dean — who was expected to go very early in the second round, but fell to the third — were the only players left in the green room into the second round.

It was the longest it took for a second quarterback to be drafted since Giovanni Carmazzi was the second QB taken in 2000 at Pick No. 65. The prize of that draft was of course Pick No. 199. A man named Tom Brady.

Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder got taken as the second QB at No. 74.

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