clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 NFL Draft prospect profile - Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Levis has been compared to Josh Allen, but can he make a similar leap in the NFL?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Louisville at Kentucky Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The quarterback class in the 2022 NFL Draft was disappointing to say the least. Only one passer was drafted in the first round, and 20th overall at that. The next quarterback wasn’t taken until the 10th pick in the third round, and two more went in the bottom third of the third round.

The 2023 quarterback class is expected to be much stronger than than last year’s, and there’s speculation that we could see four quarterbacks go in the first ten picks.

Kentucky’s Will Levis has frequently been compared to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen due to his size, straight ahead athleticism, and potent arm. Levis is also one of those quarterbacks who has been consistently mocked in the Top 10 of the draft, with some even arguing that he could be the first overall pick.

Is Levis worth the hype?

Prospect: Will Levis (7)
Games Watched: vs. South Carolina (2021), vs. Georgia (2021), vs. Florida (2022), vs. Georgia (2022)
Red Flags: Suffered turf toe and a sprained ankle and shoulder in 2022


Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) |

Career Stats

Games Played: 38

Attempts: 738
Completions (percentage): 439 (64.9 percent)
Yards (YPA): 5,876 (8.0 per attempt)

Carries: 312
Yards (YPC): 742 (2.4 per attempt)

Touchdowns: 63 (46 passing, 17 rushing)
Turnovers: 32 (25int, 7 fumbles)

2022 Stats

Games Played: 11

Attempts: 283
Completions (percentage): 185 (65.4 percent)
Yards (YPA): 2,406 (8.5 per attempt)

Carries: 72
Yards (YPC): -107 (-1.5 per attempt)

Touchdowns: 21 (19 passing, 2 rushing)
Turnovers: 12 (10 int, 2 fumbles)

Quick Summary

Best: Athleticism, arm strength, competitive toughness, running ability
Worst: Mechanical consistency, ball placement, NFL concepts
Projection: A developmental quarterback with starting upside early in his career.

Game Tape

Full Report

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis has an excellent combination of size, athleticism, toughness, and arm strength to play the position at the NFL level.

Levis began his career at Penn State, and transferred to the University of Kentucky after graduating in two years with a degree in finance. He was named Kentucky’s starting quarterback prior to the start of the 2021 season and rose to prominence in draft circles following a strong year for the Wildcats. Levis is renowned for both his athleticism and arm strength, and they form the basis for his game.

Levis has a very strong arm with the ability to drive the ball to all areas of the field. That gives him the strength to challenge coverages in the short to intermediate area of the field or attempt throws when off-platform. It also gives him the ability to stretch the field vertically and hurt defenses with shock plays off of play-action. His ability – and willingness – to stretch the field makes it dangerous for defenses to crowd the line of scrimmage and camp on the quick passes that formed the basis of Kentucky’s offense.

He’s a very good ball handler in the backfield and is often able to deceive defenses on play-action and read-option plays. He has big (10 ⅝ inch) hands, which allow him to manipulate the ball at the mesh point without fumbles being too much of a risk.

He is also a dangerous runner who has the ability to scramble and extend the play, execute designed quarterback runs, or pull the ball back on read-option plays. He has enough speed to pick up solid yardage in the open field, as well as a surprising amount of agility around the line of scrimmage.

Levis is a power runner with little nuance – he has solid vision, but is more apt to deliver (or take) hits than try to avoid would-be tacklers.

Levis is a very tough competitor and played through multiple injuries in his senior year. His willingness to take contact may have contributed to the collection of injuries with which he finished his season.

While Levis certainly has intriguing athletic upside, he still needs his share of development as an NFL prospect. Levis has a very live arm, but his precision and ball placement are inconsistent. His receivers frequently need to leave their feet to haul in his passes, and he struggles to place the ball to maximize his receivers’ yards after the catch. His lower-body mechanics are still a work in progress, and while they’ve certainly developed over his time at Kentucky, they are still inconsistent. Levis is still prone to throwing with his feet and hips perpendicular to his target, rather than in-line with his intended receiver. That can force the ball to sail on him, or go wide and make the catch more difficult than it would otherwise be.

Levis is also coming from a very simplistic offense at Kentucky. He was fed a steady diet of RPO and read option plays, bubble screens, designed quarterback runs, and simple route concepts. While NFL offenses have been incorporating all of these concepts in recent years, they are still much more nuanced and advanced than what most college spread offenses use. He will also need to improve on his pocket presence at the NFL level. Levis is willing to stand in the pocket in the face of pressure, but he can also get tunnel vision and hold the ball for far too long while waiting for routes to open up down the field.

Overall Grade: 7.4


Will Levis projects as a developmental quarterback at the NFL level, though his developmental period could fairly short in the right situation.

It is entirely likely, and frankly even probable, that whichever team drafts Levis will decide that his development is best done on the football field. In that case, he will be best if he lands on a team with an offensive mind that is willing to work with him. Levis is a smart quarterback who usually makes the right reads in Kentucky’s offense, but that offense was relatively simplistic compared to what is run at the NFL level. Levis will likely spin his wheels as a passer if too much is put on him too soon in his development. An offensive coordinator who is willing to go to Kentucky’s offense and incorporate the concepts that Levis excelled with will get much more out of him than an offensive coordinator who tries to shoehorn Levis into “his” scheme. He will also need to land in an offense that is willing to use his athleticism as the asset it is.

That said, he will need good coaching too. Levis is more potential than production right now, and there are several significant (potential) stumbling blocks. His mechanics are a work in progress, and while he showed good development there over his time at Kentucky, he reverted to bad habits when under pressure. Likewise, Levis will need to be taught the value of picking his fights. He’s a very competitive player and is willing to put his body on the line to help his team. That said, discretion is sometimes the better part of valor, and a healthy quarterback who lives to play another down is more help than one toughing his way through s sprained ankle or shoulder.

Levis has the potential to reward the team that drafts him with a quality starting quarterback. However, they will need to take steps to minimize the risk that comes with his selection.