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2023 NFL Combine Quarterback Recap: Why Kentucky's Will Levis Is Studying Joe Burrow Leading Up To NFL Draft

Levis was sacked 36 times over 11 games as he fought through injuries in 2022 at Kentucky. 

Media availability at the NFL Combine can ping between important questions about a player's background, his family and his on-field play only to be interrupted by someone shouting: "HAVE YOU MET WITH THE BUCCANEERS?"

Toward the end of Will Levis' press conference last week at the Indiana Convention Center – in which, yes, he was asked if he met with the Buccaneers – he was asked an incredibly pressing question for a guy considered to be among the four top quarterback prospects in this year's NFL Draft: What are your top three fruits?

"Pineapple number one for sure," Levis said, not missing a beat. "Clementines number two. That's a sleeper. And then basic but I got to go apple."

Solid choices. Does it have anything to do with playing quarterback? Nah. But here's something that does, at it relates to Levis:

"Joe (Burrow) is someone, especially in this offseason, that I focused a lot on," Levis said. "I think this offseason, compared to offseasons in the past, I've really tried to perfect the movement leading up to the throw. I think that when I make some inaccurate passes, it's due to how I'm initiating the movement leading into it. A lot of times I could get away with it because of how talented of an arm I have.

"Joe, I think, does better than anyone else in terms of movement in the pocket. Not the fastest guy, but just able to move so efficiently to put himself in a stable base to make efficient throws. Been watching a lot of film on him this offseason."

Levis has drawn comparisons to Josh Allen for his imposing physical stature (6-foot-3, 229 pounds) and top-end athleticism, but focusing on studying Burrow – who led the NFL in completion percentage in 2021 – is a notable choice.

"Not necessarily anything with the upper body, but everything from the waist down," Levis said of what he's working on heading into the NFL Draft." How I'm initiating movement, where I'm using force and which muscles I'm using. I'm a pretty built guy but I kind of realized just as I started my offseason training, how kind of weak I was in my abductor and lower core areas. So being able to engage those and push through those areas and using my feet in ways that are going to put me in advantageous situations to get a good platform and get the ball off efficiently without really having to worry that much about the upper half has been interesting."

Levis' 2022 season wasn't what he hoped – Kentucky went 7-6, and he sustained an ankle injury in early October he gritted through the rest of the season. Levis averaged eight rushing attempts per game over the first five weeks of Kentucky's season; after the ankle injury, that average dipped to about five, and both of his rushing scores in 2022 came before his injury.

Levis in 2022 completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,406 yards with 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 36 sacks.

"I think this past year, season didn't go as well as we would've wanted it to," Levis said. "But I learned a lot from it. Learned how to battle through adversity. Dealt with a lot of things physically and situationally that was tough, but I became a better player, a better quarterback because of it. But I'm going to show what I'm about once I get to the next level and doing my best to show that to these coaches this week as well."

Quarterback prospects from the 2023 draft class took the podium on Day 2 of the NFL Scouting Combine.

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