Chat with Patrick Willis
ESPN.com's Scouts Inc. has evaluated every player in the draft and this is what they say about Willis: ''Willis has flown somewhat under the radar from a national college football perspective but NFL scouts have been clamoring over his pro-potential since he broke through as a fulltime starter in 2004. Willis must continue to add bulk to his frame and there are some understandable concerns regarding his durability. However, he is a power, athletic and aggressive inside linebacker that shouldn't need long to transition into a fulltime starting role in the NFL. He also displays enough versatility and fluidity to stay on the field for all three downs. In our opinion, Willis is the top inside linebacker prospect in this year's class and he warrants consideration late in the first round.''
Send in your questions now, then join Willis on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:11 PM)
We're tracking down Patrick down everyone. Keep sending in your questions.
Buzzmaster (1:16 PM)
I just talked to his agent. He's getting Patrick for us right now.
Buzzmaster (1:26 PM)
OK. His agent said Patrick got tied up with something. But don't dispair - we've rescheduled him for 3:30 p.m. ET today. Tune in then!
Buzzmaster (3:24 PM)
Mike (Homer Glen, IL)
Did you look up to any NFL player, past or present? Who?
Patrick Willis (3:25 PM)
When I was growing up I looked up to Walter Payton. He's the kind of guy that I got my work ethic from. From his autobiography, if you want something, you have to go work for it.
Patrick Willis (3:25 PM)
Now, I'm my own man.
Hey hows it going? Do you prefer to play in a 3-4,4-3, or cover 2 style defense?
Patrick Willis (3:26 PM)
I can't really speak about the 3-4, because I've never played in that system. But I would have to say a 4-3, because that's what I know the best. That's what I played in college.
Patrick thanks for all your work at Ole Miss and builting the foundation for years to come in Oxford.
Matt Salem Oregon
Patrick, were you happy with your combine workout? Do you think you helped your draft status?
Patrick Willis (3:27 PM)
I'm not totally satisfied, because I'm never totally satisfied with my performance. But I think it helped me at the combine.
Clint- Madison, MS
Which NFL linebacker past or present would you compare yourself to?
Patrick Willis (3:28 PM)
I would probably say Derrick Brooks. He's a guy that goes out there and gets the job done. He's a little under the spotlight, but goes out and gets the job done.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Patrick, where will you be watching the draft?
Patrick Willis (3:28 PM)
Either in Mississippi or Tennessee as of right now.
Scottie (Jackson, MS)
I don't have a question. I've just followed your career and would like to wish you the best of luck.. Even though I'm a State fan...
Joe Duluth MN.
Hey, Pat love the way you play. How high do you think you'll go in the draft? and what team would you like to play for. I would like to see the viking pick you myself.
Patrick Willis (3:29 PM)
When I was at the Senior Bowl I interviewed with a lot of the teams. When I was at the combine, I also interviewed a lot of teams. I've worked out with a lot of teams. To me, I just want to play some football. It doesn't matter who I play for.
Edward (Salinas, CA)
How was it being coached by Coach Nolan and his staff at the Senior Bowl?
Patrick Willis (3:30 PM)
San Francisco, they have a great staff. I felt confident being coached by them. It was a great experience being coached by them.
Do you feel like you could put more weight on your frame in order to play MLB in the NFL?
Patrick Willis (3:31 PM)
No, they were actually surprised that I weighed 242. They asked me if I was one of those guys that show up for the combine at 242 and then show up for camp at 230 and I said, no sir. I played around 238-240 all last year. No one said anything negative about my weight.
With your blazing fast 40 time, does this prove that the SEC has the fastest defenses?
Patrick Willis (3:32 PM)
Yes. I've always believed that because I saw it week in week out. You have to bring it. If you don't, they'll run all over you.
What parts of your game do you feel the most improvement, and what part of your game do you think is the strongest?
Patrick Willis (3:33 PM)
Right now, I think my strongest point in the game is the knowledge of the game and being instinctive. That comes from watching game film. I need to work on my hands and using them.
Do you think you could play OLB if asked to do so by a team, and have any team suggested such a move?
Patrick Willis (3:34 PM)
I think I could do it. I think with my style of play that I can play there. Doing position drills at the combine I think I showed I could play other spots.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Favorite team growing up?
Patrick Willis (3:35 PM)
My favorite team growing up was the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys.
Hey Patrick, would you like to go to a place where you can learn from a veteran or more of a place where you can play immediately?
Patrick Willis (3:36 PM)
Regardless of where I end up, I'm going to try and earn a starting spot anyway. But there's nothing wrong with being taught by someone. I'm not a person who thinks that I know everything.
You have suffered a fair amount of injuries in your career, do you feel like that may effect your draft position?
Patrick Willis (3:38 PM)
To be honest with you, I really don't know. Everybody knows that everyone has injuries. But you look at my injury history and I only missed one game. How many guys have only missed one year in four years? A team can get me and still see that I'll play. I just want a team to take a chance on me.
Matt (Gibsonville, NC)
Many experts have projected that you would get drafted by the Panthers. How would you feel about playing in Carolina?
Patrick Willis (3:39 PM)
I would love to go play in Carolina. I was down there for the Nagurski Award. The people were so nice to me. To have those kind of fans behind me and the weather and talent. It's a place where I wouldn't mind going to. I'd try to help them as much as I could.
Kyle (Jackson, Miss)
Do you think that you might make it to the pro bowl in your career?
Patrick Willis (3:40 PM)
I think so. My overall goal is going to be one of the best players. I want to play the game and be the best. If you're the best, then you'll go to the Pro Bowl.
Craig (Norwich, CT)
What do you like to watch in your free time?
Patrick Willis (3:41 PM)
My major is criminal justice and I like to watch CSI. I like to play Madden or go fishing.
Besides yourself, who were the most impressive players you've seen in the Senior Bowl or at the combine?
Patrick Willis (3:42 PM)
There weren't just one. There were a lot of guys that have a lot of potential. Some of the guys that I know by name. Paul Posluszny, Buster Davis, Timmons. That's why I continue to work every day, even after the combine. Every day I have to give 100%, if I don't, someone else will move past me.
Tyler, Buffalo, New York
What running back are most excited to play against?
Patrick Willis (3:43 PM)
Week in, week out, a running back is a running back. I just want to run them all down if I can.
What was the toughest/strangest question you have been asked by a team so far?
Patrick Willis (3:44 PM)
Football comes very simple to me. As far as football wise, nothing too much.
Holly (Memphis TN)
Patrick, what goals have you set for yourself for your first year in the NFL? Go Rebels!
Patrick Willis (3:45 PM)
To go in and start on something - defense or special teams. Make a name for myself as a rookie in the NFL. Maybe make the Pro Bowl as a rookie. But my main goal is to start on something.
Do you think you might be projected a bit higher if you went to a school like OSU, Mich, USC, Florida, or LSU? And why did you choose Ole Miss?
Patrick Willis (3:46 PM)
Because I wasn't highly recruited. No teams really wanted me out of high school. Ole Miss really wanted me there. On my official visit, I really felt that.
Patrick Willis (3:47 PM)
Thanks for all your support.
Buzzmaster (3:47 PM)