Steelers post-NFL Combine mock draft: Malik Willis is still the ultimate goal

Malik Willis #QB16 of Liberty throws during the NFL Combine. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Malik Willis #QB16 of Liberty throws during the NFL Combine. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis during the NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL Combine gave us a clearer picture of the players Pittsburgh could target this April. Here’s my post-Combine seven-round Steelers mock draft.

Regardless of the amount of stock you put into testing numbers in spandex, there’s no question that teams value the NFL Combine. The week in Indianapolis taught us a lot, and there are many players who either helped or hurt their draft stock with their testing numbers and on-field drills.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a sucker for good athletes, and these are the types of players they have been targeting in recent years. In my post-Combine Steelers mock draft, I have Pittsburgh filling some of their bigger needs in free agency prior to the 2022 NFL Draft. Here are the selections I have them making this April:

Flames . Malik Willis. 1. player. 2384. . Quarterback

Steelers mock draft round 1: QB Malik Willis (trade-up)

I still believe that Malik Willis is the ultimate goal for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2022 NFL Draft. Just like they showed their infatuation with Najee Harris last year, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have made their interest in Willis well known early in the pre-draft process.

Unfortunately, I think there’s almost no chance Willis is available at pick 20 after a strong Senior Bowl and Combine. However, the Steelers know this, and my bet is that they are willing to be aggressive. In my post-Combine mock draft, I have Pittsburgh packaging their 2023 first-round pick to jump ahead of Denver to secure Willis this year.

The Liberty product isn’t going to be ready to start right away. In all honesty, he could probably lose at least a full year of sitting the bench before he’s ready to see the NFL field. However, due to a lack of better options, Willis could become a starter late in his rookie season.

I contemplated having the Steelers stand pat and beef up the trenches with a player like Boston College OG Zion Johnson, but their love for Willis is evident. Just like they did in 2019 for Devin Bush, I think there’s a great chance they move up for their QB this year.