NFL Draft expert has Steelers going QB in recent mock draft
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in clear need of a quarterback. Here’s why NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has them taking their franchise signal-caller in the 2022 NFL Draft.
If you followed along closely with the 2021 NFL Draft, then you knew that Najee Harris was the most frequently mocked player to the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. The former Alabama running back, of course, ended up being their selection with the 24th overall pick.
This year, there has already been one player who has emerged as the clear mock draft favorite. The Steelers are rumored to be in love with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, and Pittsburgh’s brass spent a good deal of time with Willis and his parents at the Senior Bowl.
Recently, ESPN NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr., released his updated 2022 first-round mock draft. He too penciled in Malik Willis to the Steelers with the 20th overall pick. Here’s what Kiper had to say about the selection:
"“Willis is the most talented quarterback in this class, in my opinion, but he can be erratic with his accuracy. He has all of the tools to be successful, but he’ll need to be coached hard. If the Steelers don’t go with a signal-caller here, keep an eye out for offensive line.”"
Other players Kiper considered mocking to the Steelers included Boston College guard Zion Johnson, Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell. However, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Kiper go with Willis.
Willis to Steelers is more than just smoke
While we would like to believe that NFL general managers are playing chess and not checkers in a multi-billion dollar business, that’s really not the case. In fact, if you do enough homework, you would find that the Steelers prematurely show their hand just about every year.
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert made no effort in hiding their infatuation with Najee Harris last season, and they clearly were eying Devin Bush in 2019. Based on what we know so far — including the rumors from Tony Pauline that Willis is the target — it’s easy to pencil him in as the selection.
Though Willis could be gone before the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, I certainly wouldn’t put it past Pittsburgh to trade future draft capital to ensure they are able to select the player they love in this draft. They moved into the top-10 just three years ago for a player at a much less important position.
I know it’s early in the process, but when the NFL Draft rolls around, I really don’t think there’s going to be a prospect fans are mocking to the Steelers more than Malik Willis. There’s a solid chance he winds up in Pittsburgh in 2022.