Cardinals reportedly set to host DT draft prospect Gerald Willis III

Apr 16, 2019, 8:17 AM | Updated: 8:27 am
Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis, front, runs through the tackling dummies as defensive end Joe...
Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis, front, runs through the tackling dummies as defensive end Joe Jackson stretches at the NCAA college football team's NFL Pro Day in Miami, Monday, March, 25, 2019. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald via AP)
(Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald via AP)

Miami tackle Gerald Willis III isn’t considered a top-five defensive lineman in the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s a position group with a great deal of depth in this year’s class, and because of that the Arizona Cardinals might believe his talent is undervalued.

The Cardinals, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, are hosting Willis on Tuesday.

A member of the Associated Press All-America Second Team in 2018, he made 59 tackles, 18 for loss, and 4.0 sacks.

It was a breakout year for Willis, a high-profile high school recruit who signed with the Florida Gators in 2014. He was dismissed from the team his freshman year after multiple suspensions, and a transfer to Miami didn’t immediately remedy those character red flags.

Willis sat out 2015 due to transfer rules and made 19 tackles, 5.5 for loss, as a reserve in 2016 before stepping away from the team in 2017 due to personal reasons. He returned as a redshirt senior to produce big numbers for the Hurricanes in 2018.

The 6-foot-2, 302-pound Willis apparently got things right. A one-gap 3-technique, he’s an explosive athlete who pushed his way back into draft consideration. ranks him as the eighth-best defensive tackle in the draft, and he’s viewed by some as a second-round choice. Others, like’s Lance Zierlein, believes Willis is more of a third- or fourth-round option.

For Arizona, interest in Willis makes sense. Though the Cardinals signed Darius Philon and re-signed Rodney Gunter to join veteran Corey Peters, depth is an issue at defensive line.

And as the Cardinals keep other NFL teams in the dark about whether they’ll draft quarterback Kyler Murray or defensive linemen Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams with the No. 1 pick, hosting a few defensive linemen who are later-round options only makes their current intentions more unclear.

They already have hosted potential first-round pick Jeffery Simmons, a tackle out of Mississippi State. Like Willis, he also had past character issues.

In both cases, it’s easy to guess that Arizona is using some of its allotted 30 prospect visits for longer sit downs with players devalued because of character issues.

Arizona Cardinals

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles is pressured by L'Jarius Sneed #38 of the Kansas City Chi...
Alex Weiner

Super Bowl LVII matchup set: Eagles to face Chiefs at State Farm Stadium

Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale will be a showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. 
22 hours ago
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Josh Johnson du...
Alex Weiner

Eagles OLB Haason Reddick wreaks havoc in NFC Championship Game vs. 49ers

Haason Reddick's heroics in the NFC title game got the attention of his old Cardinals teammates, including Chandler Jones.
22 hours ago
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy warms up before the NFC Championship NFL football game ...
Alex Weiner

49ers’ Brock Purdy suffers elbow injury in NFC title game, undefeated streak ends

49ers QB and Gilbert native Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game, and his unbeaten run as a starter ended.
22 hours ago
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton calls out from the sideline in the first half of an NFL f...
Wills Rice

Cardinals candidate Sean Payton: ‘In the next week we’re gonna know a lot more’

Cardinals fans are anxiously awaiting a new head coach to take over the reins of the organization after four years under Kliff Kingsbury.
22 hours ago
Statue of the late Arizona State linebacker Pat Tillman at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. (Jerem...
Austin Scott

NFL selects honorary captains to commemorate Pat Tillman at Super Bowl LVII

With Super Bowl LVII coming to Glendale on Feb. 12, four honorary captains will commemorate Valley legend Pat Tillman at the coin toss.
22 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is brought off the field after an injury during the ...
Wills Rice

Report: Cardinals QB Kyler Murray not expected to be ready for start of 2023

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is reportedly not expected to be ready for the start of the 2023 season as he recovers from ACL surgery.
22 hours ago
Cardinals reportedly set to host DT draft prospect Gerald Willis III