Sauce Gardner gives Will Levis advice after tough NFL Draft night

On3 imageby:On3 Staff Report04/27/23

The 2023 NFL Draft certainly didn’t go as planned for former Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who had the unfortunate distinction of being the last one in the green room as the first round unfolded.

Levis was thought to be a candidate to go in the first half of the first round, but as teams kept picking, Levis kept waiting.

He received some encouragement online from the likes of Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

“Will Levis…” Gardner wrote. “God makes no mistakes. You will be great.”

The draft unfolded roughly as expected in the top five picks, with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young going No. 1 overall to Carolina, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud going No. 2 overall to Houston and Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson going No. 4 overall to Indianapolis.

But the other potential destinations for Levis didn’t end up panning out in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Levis wasn’t the only former SEC quarterback with first-round aspirations still waiting to hear his name called when the first round ended, as Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was also undrafted following Thursday’s action.

Still, it will sting for Levis after months of build-up leading into the 2023 NFL Draft.

Levis was productive for Kentucky for two years, despite being hampered by injuries during the 2022 campaign. Levis threw for 2,826 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2021, then followed it up with 2,406 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2022.

He also added 17 rushing touchdowns during his four-year college career.

So someone will get a player they can build around going forward. Levis is a quality prospect and now he’s likely got some extra motivation to boot.

Here was a final pre-2023 NFL Draft evaluation from the NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein on Levis:

“Levis is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the draft, but there are warts in his game that might not be easily corrected. He has prototypical size and experience operating in a pro-style passing attack. He’s an athletic passer, with the ability to zip off-platform throws with plus velocity from a compact release. He struggled to put together an extended period of high-caliber quarterback play in 2022, but was also dealing with injuries that he fought his way through for much of the season.

“Levis has the arm to beat coverages on all three levels, but inadequate placement and accuracy have created a lot of uncatchable throws. He’s a capable runner outside the pocket but needs to improve his feel for pressure and his consistency when throwing on the move. Levis’ talent is well worth an investment, but could require a talented quarterback coach and a patient plan to tighten up his mechanics, rebuild his confidence and explore an offensive scheme that best suits him.”