The Tennessee Titans enter the 2023 season with an unsettled QB depth chart behind starter Ryan Tannehill. The Titans drafted Will Levis from the University of Kentucky in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but a year before, the Titans used a third-round pick on Malik Willis from Liberty.
The two quarterbacks couldn’t be more different, and yet, they have staged one of the most fascinating QB battles this offseason. Ryan Tannehill is no spring chicken, suffering significant injuries throughout 2022.
Ideally, the Titans would like one of these QBs to take the reigns and develop as the heir apparent to Tannehill as the new franchise QB when the time comes. With Levis and Willis being so different, evaluating their skill sets and who is the best bet for QB2 duties is worth a closer look.
The Case for Will Levis To Be the Titans’ QB2
In several ways, Levis is a Tannehill doppelganger. Tannehill was a former WR during his collegiate career and brought a rushing element to the QB position at the NFL level. Tannehill has developed into a long-term starting QB and has outperformed many expectations entering the league.
Will Levis: The Mayo Man ☕️pic.twitter.com/iFhcQzr0Iu
— SleeperNFL (@SleeperNFL) August 22, 2023
Originally, Levis was a Taysom Hill-type of player at Penn State before developing as a dropback QB during his time at Kentucky. Entering the 2023 NFL Draft, many analysts considered Levis a first-round prospect. Some went as far as to project the Wildcats’ signal-caller as a top-three pick.
Levis slid farther than many thought, and the Titans ended his slide early in the second round. The moment the Titans made the selection, the assumption was Levis would be the starter soon, but Malik Willis had something else in mind.
The Case for Malik Willis To Be the Titans’ QB2
The Titans soured on Willis during his rookie season. The 2022 rookie signal-caller is an outstanding athlete, but he has a lot of development to do. This development was spot on with many draft analysts’ assessments. Willis was viewed as a “raw” prospect coming out.
Malik Willis against the Vikings
His rushing ability is a game changer pic.twitter.com/Oj2aLHyH9f
— RanDynasty (@ran_dynasty) August 22, 2023
The Titans brought in journeyman Josh Dobbs to finish the 2022 season, even as they were making a playoff push. The Titans won’t admit it, but their opinion on Willis was down entering the 2022 offseason.
Reportedly, Willis has performed well throughout Titans practices, making this QB competition much more of a race.
Who Wins the QB2 Job?
According to recent reports, Levis will sit out the final preseason game, putting a bow on the QB2 duties for Willis. The long-term upside for Willis does not match what Levis can bring, so ultimately, the designation may not matter.
Update: #Titans rookie QB Will Levis is expected to miss the team last pre-season game, which is 'strengthening' the chances for Malik Willis to open the 2023 season as QB2 behind Ryan Tannehill, per @JFowlerESPN
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 25, 2023
Willis seems to have secured the QB2 role with the Titans for now, but how long can he keep it?