Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Ravens’ Undrafted Free Agents Headed by Gerald Willis

Defensive Tackle Earned Second-Team All American in 2018

April 30, 2019 - 10:13 am

By Austin Medina

After the seventh round of the NFL Draft completed, players who went undrafted began signing with NFL teams.

The Ravens signed 14 undrafted rookie free agents. Of course players who go undrafted have concerns with them including injuries, scheme fit, or off-the-field issues.

Regarded as a third or fourth round prospect, how did defensive tackle Gerald Willis find himself undrafted?

Willis has endured a long and strenuous collegiate career. After being dismissed from Florida following an altercation with a teammate, Willis transferred to the Univseristy of Miami in 2015. He redshirted in 2015 and served as a backup in 2016. In his first season with the Hurricanes, Willis tallied 19 tackles along with 5.5 tackles for loss.

Willis decided to sit out the 2017 for “personal reasons” and bounced back with a dominant 2018 campaign. He led the ACC with 18 tackles for loss, added a career-high 59 tackles and four sacks.

The struggle with Willis is the uncertainty he has shown in years prior. An altercation with a teammate led to his transfer. He produced an amazing senior season, but only after taking the previous year off. He missed the Hurricanes bowl game against Wisconsin to begin rehabbing a hand injury.

For NFL teams, dependability is a prerequisite and the evidence was Willis dropping out of the draft.

Willis is a talented prospect. On the field, one of his few flaws has been his pad-level. Willis needs to learn to play lower if he wants to make it at the next level with Baltimore.

The Ravens took a calculated risk by signing Willis. They added a second-team All-American defensive tackle to learn from veteran Brandon Williams. Willis will surely have a chip on his shoulder and possess the talent to make the 53-man roster. 

With maturity issues from previous seasons, it will be up to Willis to prove he is the player shown in 2018 and continue his progress.