June 22, 2024


Like All Trades

Will Levis could be Josh Allen — and I could be Mark Twain

University of Kentucky QB Will Levis

Will Levis, first round QB?
Image: Getty Images

If it was up to me, Will Levis putting mayonnaise in his coffee wouldn’t only discount him from being a first-round pick, but it’d also land him in prison. People who are obsessed with condiments need serious reform in their lives. Scars from working at Subway in high school aside though, I think Levis has bust written all over him.

Despite Kentucky and its quarterback underperforming this season, mock drafts still have him in the top three to 10 picks, and some unsuspecting NFL fanbase is in for a surprise worse than a mug full of mayo.

The Cats were a surprise a year ago, going 10-3 against a pretty forgiving schedule. I’d argue that beating LSU and Florida during a season in which both universities fired their head coach is less impressive than pretty much any other year.

Regardless, the carryover from that season, a strong arm, and early-season cupcakes led Mel Kiper to put the UK signal-caller above Bryce Young as the second-best QB in the 2023 draft. Well, if you remove the games against Youngstown State, Northern Illinois, and Miami of Ohio, Levis hasn’t thrown for more than 230 yards in a game this year. Including last season, he’s broken the 300-yard mark just one time against a Power 5 school, and Tennessee’s defense in 2021 was more FCS than FBS.

Let’s play a game. Quarterback A has 2,761 yards passing, a 66.6 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Quarterback B has 2,406 yards, a 65.4 completion rate, and 19 TDs to 10 interceptions. Now, guess which one is Levis and which one is South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler.

Levis is QB B and Rattler, who is projected to be an undrafted free agent, is QB A.

Rattler was a Heisman candidate at Oklahoma before last season, has plenty of arm talent/pedigree, and nobody is talking themselves into putting him into the first round. Granted the Heisman hype for Rattler was misguided, but it’s no worse than some NFL GM reaching on Levis.

The difference between the two is Levis isn’t a dick, and has a knack for winning over teammates, media, and anybody else in an interview setting or the gym. Todd McShay said a scout told him that he couldn’t find a single person on campus who doesn’t heap praise on Levis. If being likable translated to an all-pro on the field, Baker Mayfield would still be in Cleveland (and Deshaun Watson would be unemployed).

I’ve seen Levis compared to Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen, and that’s flat out irresponsible. Allen at least had a season worth drooling over at Wyoming to go along with all the physical attributes. He accounted for 3,700-plus total yards with 35 combined scores as a junior. If you squint hard enough, Levis’ 3,330-yard, 33-touchdown campaign as a junior compares.

Allen had injuries to excuse his less-than-stellar senior season. Yet, what the hell happened in Lexington? The Cat QB has -107 yards on the ground this year, which is a huge drop-off of 483 yards from 2021.

Yes, the SEC is a bear, and Kentucky is outfitted for pheasant. Those defenses are borderline pro units, which makes me even more nervous about Levis as he looks lost at times. But he had 11 completions for 109 yards, no TDs, and a pick in a loss against Vanderbilt less than a month ago.

With proper coaching and development, maybe he turns into Allen. Though that could be said for a plethora of quarterbacks with first-round talent who worked their asses off and still sucked. Levis is more Daniel Jones or Mitch Trubisky than Allen or Stafford. Front offices do this every year with a workout wonder. They selectively analyze tape, weep at his pro days, and gasp over a great interview as if the prospect hasn’t been groomed by a handler for years. They’re looking for any signs that he’s the prince who was promised when all they had to do was follow his career as Kentucky to know he ain’t it.

If you’re like me, Levis adding a little Hellmann’s to his hazelnut blend was more than enough to sour you on this sociopath. However, if you needed a more comprehensive, detailed argument, there you have it.