“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.”– Dr. Seuss
Huddle up, Nerds! It’s that magical time of the year when we put the incoming rookie class under a fantasy microscope. As in the NFL, drafting well is a cornerstone of successful dynasty fantasy football. But fear not. Dynasty Nerds has you covered with a series of draft profiles bursting with scouting details guaranteed to have you sitting pretty for your pending rookie draft(s).
In this installment, we’ll look at a high-profile quarterback prospect with tremendous potential. Will Levis (LEH-viss) is a name that sits perched atop draft boards and mocks alike. And for a good reason. Gushing with potential, the senior quarterback has all the tools to develop into a franchise-defining pro.
Routinely mocked in the top half of this year’s draft class, Levis has taken an unconventional path to the national spotlight. After dropping two years of eligibility in a reserve role at Penn State, Levis transferred to Kentucky after his sophomore season to pursue a starting gig. He not only secured that top spot but, traversing a gauntlet of SEC defenses, Levis excelled.
In two seasons at Kentucky, Levis averaged 2,616 yards and 21.5 touchdowns through the air. His 65.7% completion percentage as a Wildcat speaks to his accuracy. Whereas his 179 rushing attempts during that same tenure speak to his efficacy as a scrambler.
And yet, despite the impressive statistics, there are concerns. Levis’s talents were insufficient to establish Kentucky as a dominant program, achieving a modest 17-9 record during his time in Lexington. It may be unfair to place the burden of winning squarely on a young quarterback’s shoulders. However, if Levis is selected early on Day 1, defining a winning culture will be a significant expectation.
So precisely which talents have scouts excited about Levis? And will he be able to put it all together to transition to the pro game successfully? Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dig in, shall we?
What Is There to Like?
At 6’3″ and 222 pounds, Levis possesses the prototypical body type for a modern NFL signal caller. However, he retains remarkable athleticism for a player of his size and can elude tacklers equitably with strength or speed. Kentucky frequently employed designed runs to showcase his mobility, and Levis is eminently comfortable executing from an RPO-based scheme.
Levis is a kinetic runner with legs like a water strider, unafraid to put his nose into contact. The clip below is a quintessential example of this behavior. On a designed run, Levis hits the edge of the LSU front with haste, and his speed forces the defender into a poor attack angle. He then churns through initial contact, executes a spin move, and scampers deep into the red zone.
This type of bullheaded slipperiness will catch pro scouts’ attention. Levis’s trademark mobility adds a unique dimension to the offense and is an attribute to be exploited at the next level.
You’ll first notice his extraordinarily quick release when you pop on Levis’s game tape. He has a neat, compact throwing motion and can generate impressive zip with a flick of the wrist. Velocity seems practically effortless because of these mechanics, and Levis throws a reliably tight spiral.
With respect to his accuracy, Levis consistently hits his spots on intermediate to deep patterns. Kentucky’s receivers did Levis no favors, as the film routinely shows evidence of drops on catchable balls. Levis has the arm strength to air it out and can precisely drop a deep dime on the defense. As evidence, I present the clip below in which Levis bombs an impressive, on-target seed for 58 air yards against Missouri.
NFL clubs covet this sort of arm talent. A quick release can negate even the most ravenous pass rush. Sound mechanics keep the offense on schedule. And a big arm opens up underneath routes by keeping secondaries on their heels. Though Levis has impressive mobility, he also has the tools as a thrower to short-circuit a defensive game plan.
What Should Concern You?
Because of Levis’s many talents, he can fall prey to overconfidence in a collapsing pocket. With that trademark quick release, he will linger in anticipation of a flashing receiver all too often. And because of his superior mobility, he believes that he can escape any trouble that presents itself. Unfortunately, this brash sense of self-assurance frequently translates to costly sacks which kill drives and run the risk of generating turnovers.
The clip below shows an example of this conduct. With Georgia’s Jalen Carter making an expeditious advance from the interior and the edge simultaneously breaking down, Levis holds onto the ball far too long. He is fortunate to maintain possession, as the ball is not secure at the point of contact.
Despite his athletic gifts, Levis will not hold the same advantages over defenders as a pro. He will need to hone his internal clock better and know when to give up on a play to preserve the drive.
I gave kudos to Levis earlier for his superior arm talent and deep-ball ability. Oddly, the film shows he can struggle with accuracy on the more pedestrian, short throws. Particularly noticeable on screens, Levis’s delivery seems awkward and uncomfortable on these touch passes. He appears to mindfully ‘aim’ these throws rather than instinctually gripping and ripping the ball as he does on downfield routes.
This is a mental obstacle, and generally a mild one, as Levis has the athletic ability to clean up these throws. Nonetheless, this will most certainly be a point of emphasis for his quarterback coach at the next level.
Comparison – Jeff Garcia
With considerable size, athleticism, and a cannon arm, Levis has drawn some comparisons to Bills quarterback Josh Allen. And while these correlations are somewhat lofty, they do bear some merit. It’s easy to forget that Allen, now a face-of-the-NFL type talent, was once a raw prospect with great attributes but big question marks.
However, I see far more parallels with Jeff Garcia, a player who has long since retired from the NFL. Granted, Garcia was a few inches shorter and a few pounds lighter than Levis. However, their playing styles are remarkably similar.
First, consider the tight delivery that I mentioned earlier. Jeff Garcia also generated incredible velocity with minimal arm motion. The two clips below provide a nice look at the mechanical comparison. First is another example of Levis and his smooth delivery on an intermediate throw to the middle of the field. Contrast this to the second clip, which shows Garcia making an analogous throw with an eerily similar process. Both minimal windups resulted in an on-target, tight spiral, each moving the sticks.
And the comparisons are not limited to their throwing styles, either. Garcia also had good mobility and a running style similar to Levis. As evidence, let’s take a side-by-side look at clips that show escape from a crumbling pocket. In the first, Levis takes flight, leaps a defender, and extends through contact to maximize the gain. This is followed by a clip of a flushed Garcia exhibiting the same arm-flailing, lively gait before extending through traffic.
After flashing throughout his two-year stint in the SEC, Levis is firmly on the radar as a top quarterback option in the 2023 NFL Draft class. And with a sturdy build, a cannon arm, and a dual-threat resume all to his credit, it’s easy to see why talent evaluators are smitten with the Wildcat quarterback.
And yet, despite all of his top traits, Levis is far from a finished product. As with any prospect, there are areas of his game that are in need of refinement. He’ll need to combine his various tools into one cohesive package while shouldering the pressure of headlining an NFL franchise to reach his true potential.
This may give some pause when assessing the player’s outlook. However, I feel encouraged that Levis has not yet reached his ceiling. With the right coaching, plan, and culture surrounding him, Will Levis has legitimate star potential as a pro.
For fantasy purposes, Levis is generally regarded in a tier just behind Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. But don’t be surprised if he ultimately leapfrogs that tandem and becomes the top option at the position when all is said and done. In Superflex formats, Levis is worthy of a Top 5 pick, perhaps higher depending on NFL Draft capital. And, even in single quarterback formats, he is flirting with first-round value depending on your needs at the position.
Pay close attention to the pre-draft evaluations on Levis. I expect his athleticism to fuel top test scores, which could be a major boon to his stock. He is already receiving some hype as a ‘first overall’ candidate, but that could be subterfuge put out by teams looking to disguise their true intentions.
Overall, Levis is a highly talented prospect with the potential to thrive in the right situation. He is the type of quarterback you should target in multi-QB formats. Snag Levis in your rookie draft, and set yourself up for success with a top arm anchoring your franchise.
I thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this piece and would love to continue the conversation on Will Levis. Please feel free to comment below or contact me @Spydes78 on Twitter. And also, stay tuned to @DynastyNerds for a steady pipeline of content from our eminently qualified staff to carry you through your offseason. If you like what you read, please consider subscribing to any of the elite tools that Dynasty Nerds offers. Use the promo code “SPYDES” to receive a 15% discount. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the grind!