When it comes to mocking what the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to do in the first round of next week’s 2022 NFL Draft, it’s a safe bet to either trade up and land a quarterback like Liberty’s Malik Willis, or sit tight at No. 20 overall and grab a quarterback like Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder or one of the top Georgia defenders.
CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards went with the Willis option in his latest three-round mock draft, seeing the Steelers trade up from No. 20 overall to No. 13 with the Houston Texans, flipping No. 20 and a future second-round pick to the rebuilding Texans to get an opportunity to land Willis at No. 13 overall.
“If Pittsburgh sees Malik Willis fall out of the top ten, they are not going to risk any of those teams in the mid to late teens taking him,” Edwards writes. “They traded up a few years ago for Devin Bush so it makes more sense when a quarterback is on the line. Houston acquires a true second round pick as more ammunition in a possible trade next year.”
As we’ve written extensively here at Steelers Depot for much of the pre-draft process, it’s very clear that Willis is the Steelers’ clear-cut top guy in this draft class. While some will be upset reading that and will likely voice their frustrations next week if Willis is the guy the Steelers select, they’ve done their due diligence on him and certainly feel comfortable with him overall.
After addressing a potential franchise quarterback with the selection of Willis, Edwards has the Steelers getting a mammoth blocker in front of Willis with the Steelers’ second-round pick at No. 52 overall, grabbing Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele, giving Pittsburgh a moldable piece of clay to work with as a future right tackle, much like Zach Banner before him.
The Steelers did send new offensive line coach Pat Meyer to Minnesota’s Pro Day to get a look at Faalele, so some interest is at least there, though the hulking giant’s tape overall is a bit rough. There is certainly some intrigue there though overall.
Following the selection of Faalele at No. 52, Edwards closes out his three-round mock draft for the Steelers by grabbing long, physical cornerback Martin Emerson out of Mississippi State at No. 84. Emerson has some of the longest arms in the class and is one of the more physical press coverage corners in the class overall.