Brace yourselves: The mock drafts are going to start coming fast and furious now that the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is underway and analysts are gaining more of an understanding of prospects, while also hearing plenty of buzz from teams on who they do and don’t like ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
One such mock draft came from NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, a co-host on the Moving the Sticks podcast and a former NFL defensive back himself with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders.
After previously targeting defense for the Steelers in his first mock draft of the year, grabbing Georgia DL Travon Walker at No. 20 overall, Brooks did a complete 180-degree turn and went the offensive route for the Steelers, grabbing Liberty quarterback Malik Willis at No. 20 in his mock draft 2.0.
“Head coach Mike Tomlin ushers in a new era with an ultra-athletic quarterback supported by a defense that could enable the Steelers to survive the youngster’s growing pains,” Brooks writes.
Willis certainly fits what the Steelers are looking for in the next franchise QB, which is a lot of mobility, a big arm and the ability to extend the play with his legs, much like a young Ben Roethlisberger back in the mid-2000s.
Of course, the first thought that drives here with the selection of Willis is, will he be there at No. 20 overall? As we sit here today I still think he will be on the board at No. 20 for the Steelers to select him. I know that goes against the consensus thinking, but it’s not a great quarterback class, and some teams just aren’t in the market for a long-term project at quarterback like maybe the Steelers are in the 2022 NFL Draft.
It’s worth noting that many of the big-name draft experts like Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah, Lance Zierlein, and more continue to project Willis to the Steelers at No. 20 overall. Does that guarantee he’s on the board when the Steelers pick in late April, assuming they sit tight? Absolutely not.
But where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and that fire is burning brightly right now within the Steelers-Willis connection.