Before trading for him, however, the Browns quarterback situation had question marks surrounding it.
As the relationship with Baker Mayfield faltered, it became clear the team had interest in moving in another direction.
One name that supposedly caught Cleveland’s attention is Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.
Per Jake Trotter of ESPN, the Browns were reportedly “super high” on Willis before getting Watson.
Had heard that the Browns were super high on Willis, before today (and obviously before making the Watson trade) https://t.co/rZUThfTQBa
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) March 22, 2022
Willis has been making waves on social media after wowing folks with his throws at his pro day.
Willis is an intriguing prospect that many seem to have split opinions on.
Many are drawn to the arm strength while others are hesitant over the level of competition he faced collegiately.
Regardless, someone will take the dice roll on Willis.
For a moment, that could have been the Browns.
Earlier this offseason the Pittsburgh Steelers went out and signed Mitch Trubisky to be their projected starting quarterback.
That didn’t particularly amaze Steelers fans, but a move had to be made at the position.
Pittsburgh may not be done making moves at quarterback, however.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had dinner with Willis this week and took in Willis’ pro day as well.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert also attended Willis’ pro day.
“He’s a normal dude. … Eating his chicken wings over there, I’m like, ‘Mike Tomlin’s eating chicken wings?’”
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis talked about his dinner with the Steelers head coach 😂
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 22, 2022
Mike Tomlin was liking what he was seeing at Malik Willis’ Pro Day 👀
What should the Steelers do in the Draft?
— PFF (@PFF) March 22, 2022
Pittsburgh still needs offensive line help in addition to other holes on the depth chart.
Many believe taking Willis in the first-round would be a mistake for them.
However, it’s clear that Tomlin, as well as the front office, have an intrigue in Willis.
Kevin Colbert’s final draft as the Steelers general manager will be an important one for that franchise.
If Willis does end up in the division, Myles Garrett and the Browns defense will want to set the tone with him early.
Boom or Bust?
It’s hard not to be enamored with the arm strength of Willis.
The deep ball accuracy, as shown at his pro day, is something to behold as well.
Back-to-back deep dimes from Liberty QB Malik Willis at his Pro Day. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/2LsBUJEMRb
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 22, 2022
Of course, to be successful, this all needs to translate to the NFL field.
Plenty of quarterbacks have “ooh’d and awe’d” audiences at practice fields before.
The true talent resides in those who make it happen in-game.
That’s the question mark on Willis.
The kid can play, throwing for over 2,800 yards with 27 touchdowns.
He did toss 12 interceptions with a completion percentage of just over 61%.
He’s not a perfect prospect by any stretch and there are questions.
If he does bust and the Steelers take him, that’s music to Browns fans’ ears.
If he booms into a star, however, that’s something Cleveland will have to contend with twice a season.
It’s nice for Browns fans knowing they don’t have to be hung up over Willis or any other quarterback prospect.
Watson is their guy moving forward.
Unless Willis ends up in the AFC North, they don’t really have to worry about how his career unfolds.
That’s the benefit of handling your quarterback situation early and avoiding having to take a big gamble.