Getty The Steelers could select Malik Willis in the 2022 NFL draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have an opportunity to acquire a quarterback similar to Russell Wilson.
As reported by Tribune Live’s Joe Rutter, the Steelers made their last quarterback prospect visit before next week’s 2022 NFL draft. Pittsburgh met with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis on Wednesday, April 20, at the UMPC Rooney Sports Complex.
“Malik Willis, who could be the first quarterback selected in the draft when he starts on April 28, paid a top-30 visit to UMPC Rooney Sports Complex,” Rutter said. “Wednesday is the last day teams can have visits from draft-eligible players.”
The Steelers have the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft. As Rutter pointed out, Willis could be the first quarterback removed from the board. Considering QB-needy teams like the Carolina Panthers (No. 6 pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 9 pick), and the New Orleans Saints (No. 16 and No. 19 picks) have picks before the Steelers, Pittsburgh might have to make a draft-day trade for promotion in order to select Willis.
The 6-foot-1, 219-pound quarterback isn’t perfect by any means — he completed just 61.1% of his passes in 2021 — but he may be the most physically gifted of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft. .
Willis may have the most potential QB prospects
As Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports noted, Willis is “built like Russell Wilson.” Wilson currently projects Willis to be drafted at No. 9, a pick currently held by the Seahawks.
“We’ve been honest about Willis: We have a second-round rating on him based on his work in college, but that doesn’t mean teams looking for a quarterback won’t take one a round or so sooner than they should. . Wilson said. “Willis had a great week at the Senior Bowl and then he had a good interview at Indy. He’s built like Russell Wilson but obviously in a much rawer way.”
“He has the physical tools to be the best passer in this class, all he needs is experience,” Wilson concluded.
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Willis is considered a ‘boom or bust’ prospect.
The dual-threat quarterback made a big impression at Liberty after being traded from Auburn in 2019. During his senior season in 2021, Willis threw for 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions along with a career-high 878 rushing yards. team, along with 13 on the ground. touchdowns
The knocks on Willis, though, are his lack of accuracy and the fact that he didn’t play against great competition at Liberty. In fact, the Liberty played only one top 25 team all season when it lost to the SEC’s Ole Miss, 27-14.
Willis struggled drastically in that game in possibly his worst performance of the season, going 16-for-25 for 173 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
However, his athletic ability combined with his rocket arm has led some to compare him to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who won the MVP award in just his second season in the league. In other words, he is the definition of a “boom or bust” prospect, as NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks points out.
“Willis has boom-or-bust potential with an intriguing set of tools that will have some coaches comparing him to Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson as a possible next-level ‘one-man show’,” explains Brooks.
The Steelers are clearly interested in adding a quarterback in this year’s draft. They’ve hosted the top five quarterback prospects: Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder and Sam Howell, along with two lower-tier prospects in Nevada’s Carson Strong and South Dakota State’s Chris Oladokun.
General manager Kevin Colbert stated in February that the Steelers were aiming to enter camp with four quarterbacks. Pittsburgh currently has two quarterbacks, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, with big question marks surrounding both of them. Neither quarterback served as the starting quarterback during the 2021 season.
The Steelers can go big and potentially find the next Jackson or Wilson, Willis is the way to go. However, Pittsburgh will likely have to force its way up in the draft, which means it will have to find a trade partner on draft day.
If Pittsburgh can’t move above their No. 20 overall pick, they’ll likely lose their shot at Willis.
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Steelers meet QB ‘built like Russell Wilson’: report – Home