The Tennessee Titans selected Kentucky quarterback Will Levis with the 33rd pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Here's what you need to know about how his Fantasy stock in both season-long and Dynasty formats is affected by his landing spot.
Levis' Fantasy fit with Titans
The Titans have always prioritized size and strength at every position. Levis is no different -- he's a big man with a big arm and a pretty decent track record of running without fear. The Titans are also a savvy team in that they adapt to their players' strengths. So it wouldn't be a surprise if their offense changes once Derrick Henry is no longer effective, and that would benefit Levis if he's their quarterback at that time. That could mean that this offense would be built around him, which seems like the scariest thought in the world at this juncture of his career, but if he proves he can handle offensive coordinator Tim Kelly's system then there is some significant upside for Fantasy. We just likely won't see much of that in 2023.
Levis figures to be the most polarizing prospect in the entire draft. He's blessed with size and a strong arm, but he's not quite polished enough from head to toe and could seriously struggle if thrown into the NFL immediately. The Titans are in a position where they can let Levis take his time. Ryan Tannehill is in the final year of his deal. He'll be 35 years old when the season starts. It would be a stunner if he's not Tennessee's quarterback in the early going. As long as the Titans are competitive with Tannehill, he's going to play and Levis is going to watch from the sideline. That is particularly problematic because he'll be 24 this coming season. Provided he takes to excellent coaching and specifically plays behind a quality offensive line (another issue), we could begin seeing some incredible returns by the middle of 2024, but his window to contribute won't be as wide as other prospects. Levis might slide into early Round 2 in Superflex/two-QB rookie-only drafts behind Anthony Richardson, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young. In one-QB rookie formats he might not get taken until the middle of Round 3.
Will Levis: What to know
The son of a collegiate football player and a two-time All-American soccer player, Will Levis was a high school wunderkind, dominating on the football field (three-year starter, broke Xavier High School records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions as a senior), on the baseball diamond (lettered in baseball) and in the classroom (4.0 GPA with recruitment from Harvard and Princeton). He was a three-star prospect from 247 Sports, but perhaps he gained the most notoriety when he finished in first place at Nike's "The Opening" New Jersey regional competition in April 2017, garnering the highest QB score nationwide. Soon after he started receiving offers from major college programs, but the one his heart was set on was from Penn State.
And it was Penn State where Levis went ... and barely played. In two seasons over three years, Levis threw only 102 passes in 14 games with one start, notching three passing touchdowns and six rushing scores in a Wildcat QB type of role. The Nittany Lions won in 2019 with Sean Clifford but not in 2020, yet they never pivoted from him to Levis. In fact, Levis was once benched for the third-string quarterback after fumbling. After graduating early, Levis transferred to Kentucky and worked his way to the starting job fr the Wildcats first in 2021, then kept the gig in 2022. Despite playing two seasons (24 games), Levis is fifth in UK history in all-time passing touchdowns (43) and is represented twice on the school's top 10 most single-season passing yards list.
- QB profiles: C.J. Stroud | | |
Age as of Week 1: 24 | Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 229 | Hand: 10 5/8 | 40-time: TBD
Comparable body-type to: Jacoby Brissett
We're breaking down everything you need to know about Young from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
- Strapping young man with ideal height and well-built physique.
- Effortless throwing motion with quick release helped him get the ball out fast.
- Effective shoulder pump-fake is in his bag.
- Excellent pass velocity to rocket footballs into tight windows. Has mastered out routes, particularly to the far sideline.
- Elite arm strength. Documented throws that traveled as far as 54 Air Yards in 2021 and 2022.
- Tough. Willing to dive for the touchdown at the goal line. Was hit a number of times in 2022 thanks to a downgraded offensive line with lapses in protection assignments and got up every time. Played through three separate injuries in 2022, though it may have impacted his mechanics (much more on that below).
- Typically does not put the ball in harm's way when pressure overcomes him. Smart enough to throw the ball away or take a sack instead of making a dangerous toss.
- Solid speed when he did run with an understanding of run angles and following his blocks. Plenty of evidence from his 2020 games as a Wildcat QB for Penn State.
- Not a bad word about Levis from Kentucky teammates and coaches, all of whom sing his praises as a leader on and off the field.
- Had four different offensive coordinators in his college career including two NFL-style playcallers at Kentucky. He should be better prepped for the NFL game.
- Can handle an RPO system, and can probably work well in an aggressive version of the West Coast offense that highlights his mobility on bootlegs. Could also work in an up-tempo spread system. Worked in a tedious offense with a deep playbook at Kentucky and shouldn't have a big issue doing the same in the NFL.
- Arm angle is acute in his throwing motion, impacting his touch on shorter throws.
- Seemed to only throw consistently well in calm pockets.
- Footwork was inconsistent, which led to significant inaccuracy issues, especially in 2022. Drop-back wasn't consistently straight, the spacing between his feet felt too wide which impacted his base, he would sometimes drift too far back, and he rarely stepped-up in the pocket when pressure came. When passing, his back foot wasn't always planted and front foot wasn't always in the direction he threw the ball in. Sometimes one foot was good and the other wasn't. The issue seemed to arise most often when there pass rush pressure to "speed him up".
- To his credit, Levis told ESPN at his Pro Day that his "platform to throw sometimes can put me in an disadvantageous situation" and that he's "address(ing) those things" with quarterback coach Jordan Palmer. However, he told CBS Sports' Josh Pate in 2022 that he worked on his footwork and lower-body fundamentals before the season, and there were still issues.
- Felt like Levis made a glut of predetermined throws in 2022 and seemed to make more/better reads post-snap in 2021, which could have been a byproduct of the offense he played in, his teammates and his health. He tended to have a poor recognition of pre-snap coverage and also made predetermined throws without considering the coverage in 2022.
- Must learn to trust his eyes! He was late on a slew of throws that would have been money had he thrown a beat sooner. Also moments when he saw an open target but didn't throw, holding the ball for too long and inviting pressure. If he's tentative and can't connect his eyes, brain and arm, then he'll need an offense that spells every play out for him. That's what he seemed to have a lot of in 2022 and it wasn't great.
- The idea of passing to a teammate went out the window when he did feel pressure. He frequently tried to either make a play with his legs (especially against edge pressures) or throw the ball away/take a sack (especially against interior pressures). He only sometimes re-adjusted his platform with his eyes downfield to make a throw. Levis rarely beat the blitz.
- At times had zero awareness of oncoming pass rush pressure, so much so that he was rocked by unchecked defensive linemen. Levis must master his understanding of protection schemes and coordinate flawlessly with his offensive line.
- Levis' velocity is strong to a fault. He must learn to reliably tone it down and consistently throw with gentler touch when needed, mainly on shorter throws.
- Levis suffered turf toe and a finger injury in early October 2022, missing one game, then sprained his left (non-throwing) shoulder in mid-October 2022. He told the "Pin it Deep" podcast in December that those injuries impacted his planting and explosive movements in practices before ultimately receiving pain-tolerance medication on game days.
- Levis' high-school teams were never better than 6-4 and never made the Connecticut state playoffs, and only his first season at Kentucky was a success. Why didn't he win more often?
|2022 v Top-25||6||64.2%||1144||7.7||7||6||35||-30||-0.9||1|
|Career at UK||24||65.7%||5232||8.2||43||23||179||269||1.5||11|
Advanced stats to know
- 65.4% completion rate was 38th best out of 148 QBs with at least 275 pass attempts in 2022, 0.9% better than Bryce Young and 0.9% worse than C.J. Stroud.
- With 25.7 pass attempts per game, Levis was 138th out of 148 qualifying QBs. NCAA average was 32.0 per game.
- Sack rate of 10.7% was 146th out of 148 qualifying QBs.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Levis completed 49 of 54 throws on screen plays for 342 yards. That represents 19% of his attempts, 26% of his completions and 14% of his yards. Fellow top prospects Young, Stroud and Anthony Richardson all had lower rates than Levis.
- On passes of 15-plus Air Yards, Levis ranked 54th in completion rate (44.6%) and 36th-worst in off-target rate (32.1%) out of 148 qualifying QBs. He was the worst among the top four prospects.
- Statistically finished 14th-best in completion rate when pressured, better than Young, Stroud and Richardson, with a 9.4 yard per attempt average (fourth-best in the nation).
- It's also worth noting Levis was pressured on 82 of his 283 pass attempts, roughly 30% of all pass attempts he had, and was actually sacked on 29.3% of his pressured attempts.
- Excluding kneel-downs and sacks, averaged 3.4 yards per rush.
Levis deserves credit for a solid 2021 season and a little bit of mercy for dealing with injuries and a rough offense in 2022. If he's as bright as his high school and college plaudits suggest, he should be able to adapt quickly to an NFL playbook, especially since he has experience running an NFL offense. Quality coaching could further help Levis ascend to being an outstanding quarterback provided he gains more confidence in what he sees and more refined technique in how he sets his feet and manipulates defenses. He has the same potential as Carson Wentz had when he was a prospect, along with the same kind of large size and strong arm. Wentz's career trajectory went south as soon as injuries and mental hurdles slowed him down. The Titans hopefully won't put Levis in the same situation, giving him more upside to shine for more than a couple of seasons.