Will Levis ended up where he should've been all along, but this isn't about "a chip on his shoulder"
It probably felt like an eternity.
None of us, unless you’re Aaron Rodgers or Brady Quinn, know how that truly feels to be in the NFL Draft green room and to realize the camera is on you all night. Even people who were there in Kansas City strictly to cover Levis could feel that angst, but none of us were in the mind of Levis.
ESPN analytics said that Levis had “less than o.1%” of not being selected in Round 1. Say what you will about that entirely made up metric, but if you found a mock draft without Levis in Round 1, you probably had to dig through the dark corners of the internet to find it.
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All of that is part of Levis’ story. He didn’t stay in Kansas City to hear his name called on Friday night. If he did, he would’ve had a much different experience because the Titans traded up to No. 33 to make him the second pick of the second round.
If we’re being honest, that’s where Levis should’ve ended up all along. I’m not necessarily referring to Tennessee, though Levis did seem pretty high on his chances of landing in the Volunteer State:
Will Levis, on the @Titans
“I told myself I wouldn’t fall in love with anybody throughout this process, because I knew I really didn’t have a say in the matter. But if there was one team I did, it was definitely Tennessee”
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) April 29, 2023
He’s right. He didn’t have a say in the matter. If he did, the Titans would’ve drafted him at No. 11 and he would’ve had a few more million dollars of guaranteed money in his bank account.
Levis does have a say on what’s next. But if you’re of the belief that this is all about “how big of a chip Levis will have on his shoulder,” I think you’re looking at this all wrong.
That’s never been the issue for the former Kentucky signal-caller. Playing quarterback isn’t about proving people wrong, though it is ironic that he ended up in the AFC South, where he could get annual matchups against CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson, both of whom were selected in the top 4 ahead of Levis.
Nah. Work ethic and motivation wasn’t the reason the entire league passed on the beefed up Levis. Rece Davis went so far as to call him a “body builder.” For a quarterback, Levis is certainly in the minority with his physique. If this really was about how Levis looked in shorts, he would’ve been picked in the top 4.
Robert Griffin III asked Levis on the ABC broadcast if he was going into this with a chip on his shoulder.
“A little bit. I think that regardless of whether I went first overall or in the second round, my work ethic wouldn’t have changed,” Levis said. “The circumstances can’t affect how you approach situations like that.”
Preach. He’s exactly right.
The market humbled Levis. It should’ve been a loud message that he needs to work on his craft. He has to improve his decision-making both with when to try to fit balls into tight windows and when to not take a sack. For all the talk about Kentucky’s offensive line struggles, Levis was the wrong guy to be in that spot.
Now, he’ll find himself in a quarterback room with soon-to-be 35-year-old Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis, who was last year’s green room guy who didn’t get picked in the first round. Tennessee has a new general manager — different than the one who drafted Willis — and a new offensive coordinator. As a second round pick with an established starter, Levis won’t be expected to start right away.
Good. He’s not ready for that. Approach is everything in Year 1.
“I’m just ready to learn. I want to learn as much as I can from them and I want to be the best teammate I can be,” Levis said on the ABC broadcast. “I’m going there to compete for sure … I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
For now, that’s not about “trying to prove the doubters wrong” or “showing other teams what they missed out on.” Levis has the mindset and all the physical tools to develop. It’s the same reason why he became such a highly regarded prospect after the 2021 season ended. We mustn’t forget that in the latter half of that season, he learned how to run a pro-style offense with the Sean McVay concepts, he improved his deep-ball accuracy and he became a game-changer with his legs.
Will the Titans build around Levis? That remains to be seen. But a franchise who traded up and gave up future picks to land Levis in the second round clearly believes he’s capable of being a franchise guy, even if the numbers are working against him.
(Per Scott Dochterman of The Athletic, of the 33 quarterbacks drafted in Round 2 since 1990, only 12 have at least 50 starts and only 5 of them — Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton and Jake Plummer — went on to start 100 games.)
When Levis joined the ABC crew on Friday night, he shared that he just got back to his family’s house in Madison, CT. Fittingly, he had some travel issues that nearly forced him to miss his selection with the second pick on Friday night.
Bitter, he was not. Relieved? Yep, that’s fair.
“I’m happy for all the dudes that went in the first round. It was definitely something that I would’ve like to happen,” Levis said. “But I feel like I ended up exactly where I needed to be and where I was meant to be. I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
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The titans style does seem like a better fit than a lot of teams for Levis. As a mild titans fan I would prefer hooker but the titans are really the opposite of the style hook needs. May not matter. I don’t know that either will be more than a backup. I wish them both well.
What is the Titan’s style?
Very strong running game with lots of play action pass. I think they have the highest percentage of play action passes in the NFL, but I could be wront.
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I’ve bagged on Levis a bunch, but I do wish him well.
It’s possible that if he gets into the right situation and has the opportunity, he can do well. Shoot. Worked for Hendon Hooker.
Did it? He had a nice season, but only ended up being a 3rd round pick.
Yes, it did end up well. He went from a third team QB at Virginia Tech to being the Heisman frontrunner prior to the devastating knee injury. He now has a $5.6M contract and a $1.1M signing bonus. I think it went very well.
You aren’t credible. He was the starter at VaTech for his last two seasons there, barring injury. He started 16 of the 17 games he played in. Nice try.
LSUSMC Stop moron..lol. You saw what he did to LSU at LSU. Just takes the right coaching to get a player to play to his potential. Also, he’s in a better situation than Stroud, Levis, BY are in. Number 3 offensive team he comes into. QB2 and likely to see action this season in some games. Goffs contract is up after the 24 season. L
You calling someone a moron is comical. And you disputed nothing that I said. Check the mirror, moron.
Lol. GWhite said Stetson Bennett wouldn’t ever get drafted. Yet he got drafted one round behind Hooker. Lol lol
“He had a nice season, but only ended up being a 3rd round pick”
Yep, his injury was the reason. Had he not gotten hurt he’d have gone pretty quickly.
Injury dropped him to the 3rd round!! Great 2 seasons and I believe he and Levis landed in great spots for them each !!! Played well in Baton Rouge,, and blew yens out as Vol fans celebrating in Death Valley!!!
That’s probably mostly due to the injury, though.
Tear your knee up and let us see where Jaden Daniels winds up sitting on his couch looking for dimes in the cushions.
“None of us, unless you’re Aaron Rodgers”
Rodgers was the 24th pick in the draft. Not sure what “all night” means.
Ronnie sometimes you just try too hard… This is a throw away line. Who cares.
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Agree fuzzy. I hope all SEC QB’s perform well. This group of QB’s has a good upside. (Young, Richardson, Levis, Hooker, and Bennett). Watching their development will be interesting. It’s difficult to tell who will see the field and who will see the clipboard. Good luck to all.
So maybe SalesAgreeable2834 was doing just a wee bit of self-promotion when he/she posted the dubious Reddit thread about Levis. Anyone know any more about that?
The only team I care about in Tennessee is the Big Orange. Good luck to them moving on to the NFL, but don’t as care much – they make more in one year than I make in a lifetime!
I don’t like Levis….but how in the heck does Anthony Richardson go so high in the 1st round? Can anyone say JaMarcus Russell 2.0? At least Stroud and Bryce Young have the resume of being great QBs.