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With Mike Tomlin stuck at the NFL Owners Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., Kevin Colbert continued the quarterback pro day tour on Monday as he went to see Sam Howell at North Carolina. Howell is the fifth quarterback that Colbert has evaluated since last week, following Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Malik Willis (Liberty), Matt Corrall (Mississippi) and Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati).
So, are the Steelers going all-in for a quarterback in this year's draft? It appears that way, but Colbert says the Steelers are just doing their due diligence, as they are in need of a quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger calling it a career after 18 years in January.
However, it's no secret that Tomlin and Colbert love Willis. Willis has been linked to the Steelers ever since the Senior Bowl. Via Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay revealed on the “First Draft” podcast that the Steelers like Willis so much that Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze is telling him the Steelers want him at pick No. 20 if Willis’ name is still on the board when the Steelers draft in the first round.
“‘Mike Tomlin loves this guy,’” McShay quoted Freeze. “‘Even Mike said when we talked, we’d love to have him. We just don’t know if we can get him.’”
In a one-on-one interview with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com at the NFL Owners Meetings on Sunday, Tomlin said the Steelers will "probably" draft a quarterback. Although, Tomlin added that circumstances of who's available will certainly play a factor. It's highly unlikely that Willis will be around at No. 20 and the Steelers really don't have a lot of draft capital to trade up for him, so it will be interesting to see if the Steelers select Ridder, Corral or Howell in the first round. If they do, many would consider it a major reach, as all three quarterbacks are not projected as first-round material. The Steelers also have big needs at offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver and possibly strong safety if they don't re-sign Terrell Edmunds.