Gerald Willis

Miami (Fla.)
DL20

Prospect Info

College
Miami (Fla.)
Hometown
Class
LA
r-Senior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 2"
302 lbs
33”
Hands
8 1/2”

Prospect Grade

5.54
Chance to Become NFL Starter
How We Grade

Playlist

Willis has had a rocky college career. He came into the 2014 season at the University of Florida as a first-team USA Today All-American from New Orleans, playing eight games as a reserve (14 tackles). He was dismissed from the Gators, however, for multiple transgressions including a reported fight with quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg. Willis transferred to Miami for the 2016 season, when he played in nine games as a reserve (19 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two pass breakups). He took a leave of absence from the team in 2017, but played with the scout team while working out family/personal issues. That time off apparently worked out, as Willis became one of the most productive defensive linemen in college football in 2018. He was an Associated Press second-team All-American and second-team All-ACC selection, finishing among the nation's leaders with 18 tackles for loss (among 59 total tackles with four sacks) in 12 games. Willis missed the team's bowl game, however, due to a hand injury.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Rounds 3-4
NFL Comparison
Hassan Ridgeway
Overview
Feast or famine 3-technique whose game is characterized by splashy wins and glaring losses from snap to snap. Willis is a one-gapper who has enough initial quickness and footwork to find success in the backfield, but poor pad level gets him bludgeoned by double teams too frequently. He's an active rusher with change of direction to harass the pocket which could bolster his draft stock and make him a rotational backup with eventual starter potential if he plays with a more functional pad level.
Strengths
  • Broad waist hips with big bubble
  • Adequate initial quickness with winning arm over
  • Gap worker with disruptive production in the backfield
  • Will surprise with his athletic ability
  • Above-average agility to expand lateral tackle success
  • Impressive closing burst in pursuit
  • Gets out of blocks and into plays with quality spin move
  • Active interior rusher
  • Athleticism get the drop on blockers in twist game
  • Maneuvers around blocks with good change of direction
  • Disruptive when he plays with second effort
Weaknesses
  • Pad level consistently too tall
  • Knocked out of gaps when he tries to swim run blocks
  • Below-average gap integrity
  • Motor and overall effort level can be inconsistent
  • Washed away when he gets too upright on swim counters
  • Driven way off his spot by double teams
  • Poor hand usage leads to some ugly reps
  • Gets stuck to blocks
  • Faces questions regarding off-field maturity
Sources Tell Us

"He's going to have to get that pad level corrected or he's going to have a hard time staying on the field. He's either in the backfield or getting knocked around. No in-between with him." -- Personnel director with AFC team
GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league