The NFL Draft is only a couple of weeks away and another crop of Texas Tech football players look to make the jump to the professional ranks. One prospect to look for is one of the long shots to make the NFL, but a player who has more athletic ability than almost anyone in this crop of Tech draftees, Derrick Willies.
Texas Tech landed Derrick Willies as a junior college transfer back in 2016 and to be honest, I was pumped when I heard the news. This guy had good size and is fast. Willies came to Texas Tech with so much hype and didn’t really live up to it. He finished his Texas Tech career with 36 catches and 592 yards and five touchdowns. He had two great starts to seasons in 2016 and 2017. Last season, he had 15 of his catches and 253 of his yards in the month of September alone.
Derrick Willies hauls in a touchdown pass from Nic Shimonek to push Tech's lead to 42-24. Currently leading 42-31 in the third quarter. pic.twitter.com/iUi4Mjwf2g— Lubbock A-J Photos (@LAJ_Photo) September 17, 2017
Willies comes in at 6’4” and 210 lbs. His pro day was very impressive as he ran a 4.57 and had a vertical leap of 41 inches ran the short shuffle in 4.02 seconds and the 6-cone drill in 6.84 seconds. Willies is an explosive athlete but had some catching issues early in the season and was eventually benched in the middle of the season for younger guys T.J. Vasher and Quan Shorts. He did have one awesome block against Arizona State as his big body could help him at the next level.
Willies’ size and speed are compared to former NFL receiver Roy Williams who played 8 seasons in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and Chicago Bears. Williams had a bunch of great seasons and a lot of decent seasons in the NFL.
Williams was drafted 7th overall by the Detroit Lions after having a great career at the University of Texas. He never really lived up to the huge expectations placed on his shoulders but this could have been attributed to the awful Detroit teams of the 2000s.
Possible Landing Spots
Indianapolis Colts: This fills a need for the team as Willies is a big receiver and could potentially fit well with star receiver TY Hilton. He could be another athlete on a team needing receivers for Andrew Luck.
With a chance to learn under Luck and Hilton, Willies could potentially develop into a good receiver in the NFL. At 6’4”, Willies could be a good fit for a team that has a lot of young receivers developing right now.
Miami Dolphins: This team needs big receivers, as they only have one at the moment over 6’3”. With Willies’ frame, the Dolphins may give him a chance. This would also be a great chance for Willies to learn under two of the greatest receivers in Texas Tech history in Danny Amendola and Jakeen Grant.
I honestly don’t see Willies getting drafted. Between his pass dropping issue and his benching, no NFL team will want to use a draft pick on him. I do see teams giving Willies a tryout or even signing him as an undrafted free agent. This will most likely be due to Willies’ size and speed. He has the ability to become an NFL receiver but he needs to sure up his hands and focus on the little things. If Willies can do these things, he can become the next undrafted Red Raider to be successful in the NFL.
Do you think any team will draft Derrick Willies? What do you think is Willies’ best attribute? Let us know in the comment section below!