Will Levis Is ‘Brady Quinn 2.0’ – Senior Bowl Director Says Kentucky QB Should Fall Out Of NFL Draft 1st Round

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The intrigue continues.

Will Kentucky quarterback Will Levis ride his shorts and T-shirt from the suspect NFL Combine beauty contest last March to the top of the first round of the NFL Draft tonight (8 p.m., NFL Network, ESPN, ABC)?

Or will his less attractive, actual playing experiences drop him significantly?

Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, a former NFL scout for two decades who is in routine contact with braintrusts across the league, has an opinion.

“I mean, I don’t know how you draft a guy high like that (Levis) who lost at home to a bad Vandy team,” Nagy told OutKick on Thursday.

Will Levis Does Not Have Greatest Game Tape

Vanderbilt, which was 3-6 and 0-5 in the Southeastern Conference at the time, won at No. 24 Kentucky, 24-21, on Nov. 12. Levis completed just 11 of 23 passes for 109 yards with an interception. He failed to get the Wildcats in the end zone after three trips inside the Vanderbilt 30-yard line in the first half.

“And he allowed his team to get their doors blown off in a rivalry game against Tennessee,” Nagy said.

Levis completed 16 of 27 passes for just 98 yards against one of the nation’s worst pass defenses with three interceptions in a 44-6 loss at Tennessee on Oct. 29.

“To me, if you’re a real franchise quarterback, neither of those things happen,” said Nagy, who sounds like the outlier baseball scout character played by Clint Eastwood in “Trouble With The Curve.” And that scout, the fictional Gus Lobel with the Atlanta Braves, was right in the end.

And at Ole Miss on Oct. 1, Levis fumbled twice deep in Rebels’ territory late in the fourth quarter in a 22-19 loss.

But Levis continues to be projected as a high first round pick. OutKick’s last mock draft had him going as the fourth pick to Indianapolis.

Will Levis Doesn’t Have That Go-To Game On Film

“I always use the Brett Favre example,” Nagy said. “Brett took Southern Miss. into Tallahassee and beat Bobby Bowden’s Florida State team.”

In the 1989 season opener as a junior, Favre led the Golden Eagles to a 30-26 upset over No. 6 Florida State in Jacksonville, Florida. Then in the 1990 season opener, Favre played against No. 13 Alabama in Birmingham just two months after fortunately surviving a car accident. A surgeon removed more than 30 inches of his intestines after the wreck. And Favre led USM to a 27-24 win.

Atlanta took Favre in the second round of the 1991 draft.

“If you’re really a guy in my opinion, you’ve got to have a couple of those games on your resume,” Nagy said.

Levis does not.

Levis looks great in shorts in non-games. In games, though, he finished just 24th nationally and fifth in the SEC in the comprehensive passing efficiency statistic at 151.9. He completed 185 of 283 passes for 2,406 yards and 19 touchdowns with 10 interceptions for 7-6 Kentucky, which finished 3-5 in the SEC.

NFL Combine Can Be A Beauty Contest

But he impressed at the NFL Combine, and his momentum has continued to roll amid the media. Often in the NFL Draft, the so-called experts, particularly those in the media, tend to have too much time to think about it and start moving guys up out of boredom.

Nagy scouted for Green Bay, Kansas City, New England and Seattle in the NFL before coming to the draft-haven Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, five years ago. He compares Levis going even late in the first round to Brady Quinn, who was the 22nd pick of the first round in 2007 out of Notre Dame.

Quinn played through 2013 for six teams, starting 20 times out of 24 games and had a 5-19 record.

Will Levis May Be A Reach In The First Round

“Last year, the popular, conventional wisdom was that teams reach for quarterbacks, right? And they have forever,” Nagy said. “Think of the guys over the years that were busts. The Brady Quinns. That’s who I think Will Levis is. I think he’s Brady Quinn 2.0.”

An even bigger bust than Quinn was LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell as the first overall pick in 2007. He lasted three seasons with Oakland.

“The JaMarcus Russells,” Nagy continued. “The Brandon Weedens, the Jake Lockers, the E.J. Manuels.”

Weeden, the 22nd pick of the draft in 2012 by Cleveland out of Oklahoma State, played for four teams through 2018 with 25 starts. Tennessee picked Locker from Washington with the eighth pick of the first round in 2011. He lasted three seasons with 23 starts. Buffalo took E.J. Manuel with the 16th pick of the draft in 2013 from Florida State. He started 18 times over five seasons.

And you can throw in Matt Leinart, the 10th pick of the 2006 draft from USC. He played for three teams through 2012, starting 18 times.

Throw in Florida’s Anthony Richardson in this draft, too. Nagy says he is being projected too high like Levis. OutKick’s latest mock draft has Richardson as the ninth overall pick to Tennessee.

“It’s crazy,” Nagy said. “There’s a draft analyst at ESPN who had Malik Willis mocked at No. 2 overall to the Detroit Lions on draft day last year.”

Willis went in the third round to Tennessee out of Liberty and started three games last season.

“I guess we’ll see this year,” Nagy said. “But I have spoke to some teams that think some of these guys – Levis and Richardson – could fall way lower than where the media has them picked right now.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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