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2023 NFL Draft Profile: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Will Levis had an inconsistent collegiate career, but his potential is through the roof. If he's available by the Indianapolis Colts' pick, should Indy pull the trigger?
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Will Levis was a former three-star recruit out of Madison, Connecticut. He was a bit under the radar as a high school recruit, ranking as the 24th-rated pro-style quarterback in the nation. Still, Levis was able to attend Penn State at the conclusion of his high school career.

Levis had a fairly unremarkable two-year stint with the Nittany Lions, as he was mostly used as a reserve quarterback and wildcat rusher for the team. He finished his Penn State career with 644 yards and three touchdowns passing along with 473 yards and six touchdowns rushing in 14 games played.

At the conclusion of his sophomore season, Levis opted to transfer to the University of Kentucky to finish off his college career. As the Wildcats' starting quarterback, and with a fairly strong roster around him, Levis was able to hit new career highs in all passing categories. He finished the 2021 season with 2,826 yards passing (66% completion percentage) with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Levis decided to return for his senior season in 2022, and this decision may have hurt his draft stock just a tad. His numbers dipped a little bit, as Kentucky lost a majority of their offensive line and receiver group to the NFL (plus his Offensive Coordinator also got an NFL job). Still, Levis was able to put up a respectable stat line of 2,406 yards passing (65.4% completion percentage) with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Levis was voted as a two-time Team Captain at Kentucky and was a notable face in the Wildcat community. For more on his off-the-field community work, read the Community Cats section of this hyperlink.


Arm Talent

Levis has one of the more natural arms in this draft class. There was an article by The Athletic back in 2021 that detailed his work with a Canadian biomechanics expert, and it is easy to see the progress on the field. In short, Levis has some of the best hip rotation and torque that I have seen from a college quarterback.

He generates so much power and velocity in his hips that his arm looks effortless on the field. He can throw from his backfoot or even without setting his feet, it doesn't matter. He (almost) always is able to generate the power necessary on his throws due to his hip rotation.

He does have some accuracy concerns down the field, mainly outside of the hashes because of his footwork concerns, but he has a gifted arm with unlimited potential down the field.

Ability on the Move   

This section goes hand in hand with the previous one, but Levis is a smooth operator outside of the pocket on the move. He actually suffers from the same symptom that plagues most big-armed passers with poor footwork; his footwork improves substantially when he is on the move.

When he is able to get outside of the pocket on scrambles and play-action passes, he does a great job of aligning himself to his targets and flicking the ball out where it needs to be. Teams that like to incorporate heavy play-action into their offense should love this trait in Levis.

Quick Game Operator

Levis certainly has some work to do as a passer, but I was pretty impressed with his ability to operate in the quick passing game. He has a lightning-fast release, and he combines that with excellent placement on short throws to maximize run-after-catch potential for the offense.

When Levis is able to stay in rhythm and ahead of the sticks, he can be an efficient passer on these types of concepts. He has great feel, accuracy, and decision-making when asked to do these things. Levis' money will be made on what he can do down the field, but I love his potential as a west coast-like quarterback early in his career (in a scheme similar to Frank Reich's or Doug Pederson's).

Another side note that won't be shown below: he also has excellent placement on screen passes to receivers and running backs. This may not be extremely important, but those extra inches of placement can be the difference between a 10-yard gain and a three-yard loss.



I mentioned it a few times above, but the biggest thing holding back Levis is his footwork. He suffers from some of the more common mechanical issues we see in young quarterbacks, as he struggles to set his feet properly on throws outside of the hashes. When doing this, he loses accuracy and velocity on his throws.

Another bad habit that he developed this season was losing his footwork when the pressure started to close in. His offensive line (and play-calling) was a mess this season, but he made matters worse at times with his inability to react to the rush. He panicked under duress, and it led to some bad misses down the field.

These issues are completely fixable, but as we saw with Carson Wentz in Indy, it doesn't always iron itself out. Levis has phenomenal mechanics from his hips up to his shoulders, but his feet are currently holding him back. If he can just correct this one issue, he can fully hit his potential in the NFL.

Until he does that, though, he will likely be a below-average passer in terms of accuracy around the league.

Decision Making

The other point that I am going to make (that will certainly scare all of you thinking that he is Wentz 2.0) is that Levis does have some questionable moments and passes in nearly every game. He may not be as reckless as Wentz has been throughout his career, but it can get pretty bad.

Let's look at these two throws below. In the first half of the clip, Levis attempts an extremely aggressive hole shot against cover two in the red zone. This was just an overaggressive pass that had no chance of being completed. I respect the aggressiveness, but this was way too much.

The second pass had a more fortunate result for Levis, as he missed high and late on an out breaking route vs. zone coverage. Luckily, the pass was tipped back to another receiver for a completion on the play. Still, this was a dangerous throw with a low chance of completion.

The Bottom Line

Levis is a prototypical quarterback prospect with all of the tools to be an effective pro passer. He has a phenomenal arm, and his accuracy on underneath passes is an underrated trait in his developing game.

The biggest concern with his game, though, is how raw he is in his footwork and in his decision-making process. This may be something that is easy to brush off if he were a 21-year-old Junior, but Levis will be 24 years old by the start of next season. How much better can he truly get?

Concerns aside, I think there is an avenue for success in the NFL for Levis. We have a clear example of him reworking his mechanical game in the past, so there is no reason to think that he can't improve his footwork under guys like Tom House or Adam Dedeaux in the NFL.

If he falls into the right situation, Levis can be a franchise quarterback for an NFL team. He just needs to be an offense that can allow him to play to his strengths and one that can hide his weaknesses early on. Can that be the Indianapolis Colts? I'd be willing to bet that they are interested come draft day.

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