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Carolina Panthers

Panthers checking out Malik Willis Tuesday

Malik Willis

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers continued their quarterback barnstorming tour Tuesday with a stop at Liberty, where they got another close look at quarterback Malik Willis.

And if he had his way, he could make their decision — or anyone else's — much easier.

Willis has an upbeat demeanor and laughed at the Scouting Combine when asked if he should be the top quarterback taken in this year's draft.

"I think so, but I don't make those decisions," Willis cracked. "I hate that for me."

The Panthers sent another large contingent to Liberty today, after yesterday's trip to Pitt to watch Kenny Pickett.

What they saw was Willis showcasing his deep arm, and an infectious personality.

Head coach Matt Rhule, general manager Scott Fitterer, assistant GM Dan Morgan, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, and others are making the loop this week, and will head to Oxford, Miss. tomorrow for Matt Corral's pro day at Ole Miss.

The Panthers are in an interesting position, at the top of the list in this year's draft order of teams with clear needs at quarterback.

But teams ahead of them know that too, so the trade market could be active.

The Panthers pick sixth, ahead of the Falcons (eighth), Seahawks (ninth), and Commanders (11th). All four have varying degrees of need at the position, as the market for veterans nears its end. The Falcons became a bigger part of the quarterback calculus Monday, after trading Matt Ryan to the Colts, and bringing in bridge quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The top five picks are held by the Jaguars, Lions, Texans, Jets, and Giants.

Other than subjects of trade speculation such as Jimmy Garappolo and Baker Mayfield (both of whom come with expensive contracts), there's not a lot out there in the veteran market, which makes prospects like Willis more interesting.

Of course, Willis is appealing in his own right, as the high-ceiling pick in this year's draft.

As he showed at the Senior Bowl, Willis has an incredible arm and can run, but sometimes struggles with accuracy.

In two years at Liberty, he threw for 5,107 yards and 47 touchdowns, and ran for another 1,822 yards and 27 touchdowns.

And with the Panthers' future at the position unsettled, watching this workout and comparing it to yesterday's from Pickett will be an important part of the evaluation.

View photos of Liberty quarterback prospect Malik Willis as he went through drills in front of NFL teams at his pro day on Tuesday.

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