- Malik Willis was drafted 86th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans last Friday.
- Willis was the odds on favorite to be the first quarterback taken in the draft.
- However, the Liberty QB ended up as the third signal-caller drafted, after Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the 2022 NFL Draft was Liberty quarterback Malik Willis still available on the board after the first round.
This year’s quarterback class is considered weaker-than-usual but Willis’ skill set and ceiling gave him the most potential among the five QBs in the Draft. But Willis wasn’t the first QB taken in the draft, nor was he the second one.
Willis Favorite to be First QB Drafted
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 24, 2022
Heading to the Draft, Willis was the betting favorite to be the first quarterback taken at the top NFL betting sites. At Caesars Sportsbook, he was the -225 odds on favorite to be the first QB off the board. His draft position over/under was 13.5 with 68% of the bets and 44% of the dollars wagered on the under. The over bettors cashed their bets, by a mile.
After getting passed up in the first round, Willis entered the second round with the third-best odds to be picked 34th overall at +400 at BetMGM. At PointsBet USA, Willis moved from a +1600 to be the 34th pick on Thursday to -150 before the start of Day 2 of the Draft. Instead, the Green Bay Packers selected WR Christian Watson who was listed at +1700 to be selected with the 34th pick.
Then the New York Giants emerged as the +250 betting favorites to pick Willis at 43, 67, or 81 but once again, Willis got snubbed. The Liberty QB ended up getting picked 86th overall by the Tennessee Titans, who went from a +2000 to draft him on Thursday to +350 on Friday. Willis’ draft position differential of 72.5 was the largest between projection and actual position in the entire 2022 NFL Draft.
Pickett was the First QB Off the Board
🚨 1ST QB OFF THE BOARD 🚨
Kenny Pickett is staying in Pittsburgh as the Steelers get their quarterback of the future with the 20th pick. https://t.co/6LAHB2n5CT
Pickett First QB Drafted +170 💰 pic.twitter.com/8uIz4bIL5I
— theScore Bet (@theScoreBet) April 29, 2022
Instead, it was Kenny Pickett who was the first quarterback selected in the Draft at 20th by the Pittsburgh Steelers who were a -300 to draft a quarterback with their first pick in the Draft. Pickett was just a +130 to be the first QB taken at BetMGM but he had the most betting tickets at the said online sportsbook to be the first quarterback drafted with 39%. The University of Pittsburgh signal-caller was at an even longer +170 to be the first QB off the board at theScore Bet.
Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder was the second QB taken at no. 74 by the Atlanta Falcons. Ridder had the third-longest odds to be the first QB taken in the draft at +1400 and ended up being the second. His over/under draft position was listed at 31.5 with 60% of the money wagered on the over.
Matt Corral was the fourth quarterback drafted with the 94th pick of the Draft by the Carolina Panthers, joining Archie and Eli Manning as the only Ole Miss QBs picked within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Sam Howell was the final of the five QB prospects taken in the 2022 NFL Draft at no. 144 overall by the Washington Commanders. Howell opened as the +350 odds-on-favorite to be the 1st player taken in the Draft when the initial betting lines were released in May 2021.