It’s really become mock draft season now with the Pittsburgh Steelers now in their offseason as of Sunday night. On Tuesday, CBS Sports unveiled their latest mock draft, and in it they are projecting the Steelers to draft their quarterback of the future in the first round at 20th overall.
With that pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kyle Stackpole of CBS Sports has the Steelers selecting Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.
“Ben Roethlisberger calls it quits following an improbable playoff appearance, but the Steelers don’t waste any time trying to find the next quarterback to star in the Steel City,” Stackpole writes. “Willis is already a dynamic runner who can spray the ball all over the field, but he must become more accurate, a better decision-maker and take better care of the ball. Willis is too raw to start right away, so maybe Pittsburgh brings in an established veteran for him to learn behind. Once he’s ready, the Steelers should have the pieces in place (improved offensive line, a more cohesive defense) to help Willis succeed.”
Willis originally started his career at Auburn but then transferred to Liberty in 2019. He passed for 5,107 yards and 47 touchdowns with 18 interceptions over two seasons at Liberty. He also rushed for 338 yards and 27 touchdowns over the course of the last two seasons.
This past season, Willis was on numerous national award watch lists: CFPA National Performer of the Year Award, Manning Award, Reese’s Senior Bowl, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl 2021-22 Preseason Big Board. He was a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the Maxwell Award and a top 10 candidate for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
CBS Sports has Willis as they third-ranked quarterback and 17th overall prospect.
The Steelers obviously have not selected a quarterback in the first round since they picked Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Willis will be at the Senior Bowl this year, and we’ll have four contributors from the site in Mobile to evaluate him. At some point in the coming weeks, we will have a full scouting report of Willis on the site.