Comp Picks is a season-long, weekly series that looks at the incoming rookie class from all angles, tying everything together with an NFL player comparison (or a combination of players) to contextualize upside and risk.
Redshirt Senior, 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds
Will Levis's path to the NFL has been non-traditional. After accumulating 5,419 passing yards and 55 touchdowns while completing just 54% of his passes in high school, Levis entered the 2018 recruiting class as the 28th-ranked, three-star pro-style quarterback in the nation. He received offers from a plethora of Power Five schools, including a same-day offer from the North Carolina Tar Heels after attending their recruitment camp in 2017. However, Levis settled on Penn State and sat behind Trace McSorley and Sean Clifford, a 2017 four-star recruit that never forfeited the starting job. Levis spent two years at Penn State as the primary backup to Clifford before entering the transfer portal following the 2020 season, eventually landing on his feet at Kentucky as the guaranteed starter. Levis expressed gratitude for his time at Penn State following his departure, acknowledging that he wanted a chance to beat the best teams and show off his talent. Upon his arrival in Lexington, Levis immediately entered the NFL Draft radar, throwing for 2,826 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2021. His play early in 2022 has inspired even more faith, improving every counting stat and pacing for 3,653 yards and 31 touchdowns through his first five games as a redshirt senior.
Despite lacking statistical dominance in high school and early in his collegiate career, Levis possesses traits that make NFL evaluators drool. He has the best arm talent in the class, combining elite arm strength with an innate ability to change angles to fit balls in windows and make throws possible. The ball zips off his hand in a way that makes tight-window throws look easy, and that is often the best measure of true arm talent. He has the arm strength to throw 50+ air yards on any given play, too, but often lacks accuracy when pushing to the deep third. On top of the elite arm talent, Levis is also a fantastic athlete with a punishing, fearless running style. While his 2022 statistics don't reflect his rushing ability, he can extend plays with his legs as well as any top quarterback in the 2023 draft class. Levis is never afraid to take on a potential tackler, always fighting for extra yardage and embracing contact. He's a true dual-threat quarterback that can operate in multiple offensive schemes. The new offense at Kentucky has shown off Levis's ability to perform from under center, highlighting his strengths as a play-action passer and giving him comfortability with the fundamentals of an NFL offense.
While Levis has tools that will excite evaluators, he must also work on various skills that NFL coaches expect him to possess. He can make any throw on the field, but his ball placement can be erratic and inconsistent, throwing hospital balls up and leaving his receivers susceptible to massive hits. As mentioned above, he also struggles with accuracy when stretching the field, often lacking proper touch and timing with his receivers and under or overthrowing them. This area of his game improved from 2021 to 2022, placing more footballs within his teammates' catch radius, albeit to lesser results. Levis also has a slow internal clock, often holding the football a tick or two too long and taking sacks. Still, his offensive line has performed poorly early in 2022, and pressure is coming too often. NFL evaluators will want to see quicker decisions and precise footballs, though.
The Comp Pick: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
While many will point out that Josh Allen is an outlier in his growth from college to the NFL (and there is truth to that), Levis has an exceedingly similar playstyle and set of skills. Like Allen, Levis has unique arm talent, and the ability to make any throw on a field look easy creates inherent advantages for an offense. His fearless running style is reminiscent of early-career Allen, taking on would-be tacklers head-on and attempting to get every possible inch. The dual-threat ability that made Allen so appealing for fantasy even when he struggled with accuracy is also there for Levis. While Levis may never reach Allen's ceiling, the raw traits are enough to make Levis a top-ten selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Levis possesses an incredible amount of upside that NFL teams are sure to love. He's projected to become a top-ten selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, and many draft gurus are even insinuating he could be the first overall pick. While he has more developing to do, Levis has arguably the highest ceiling of any quarterback prospect in the upcoming draft, especially for fantasy football. His ability to add yards on the ground will be valuable, and continued improvement in the accuracy department gives him the potential for a top-five arm in the NFL. Assuming Levis does earn that draft capital, he looks like a top-five selection in dynasty superflex rookie drafts. If he were to hit his ceiling, anything after pick 1.01 would be a value.
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