(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
It's still only mid-February, but there's been a lot of buzz surrounding Malik Willis going to the Steelers in mock drafts. Longtime draft analyst for the NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah thinks the Steelers' interest in Willis is for real, as well.
“Everyone thinks he’s going there (Pittsburgh) by the way," Jeremiah said on Ari Meirov's podcast last week. "Just being down (at the Senior Bowl) and being around NFL circles and buddies, everyone’s saying that he’s going to be a Steeler.”
Jeremiah also said that Willis was the top quarterback at the Senior Bowl.
"He's not as far along, but you saw Mahomes, Herbert and Allen all progress and develop. This kid is on that track. He's just starting further behind," Jeremiah said.
Two longtime Steelers reporters, Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports and Mike Prisuta of WDVE, even had the Steelers selecting Willis at 20th overall in their first mock drafts.
"It's early in the process, but Willis might not be available here. He could wind up being the first quarterback selected coming off a strong Senior Bowl week performance," Lolley said.
"I can hear the battle cry now: 'Give me Liberty or give me death!' Prisuta said. "The Steelers don't need to find Ben Roethlisberger's successor quite that badly, but they'll find Willis too intriguing to pass up."
Rob Rang of FOX Sports also has the Steelers selecting Willis in his mock draft.
"With Ben Roethlisberger retired and general manager Kevin Colbert expected to move on, the Steelers could be hardly recognizable in 2022. If the rebuild is, in fact, coming, don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh goes all-in on it, especially should a quarterback with Willis’ upside still be on the board.
"Willis is the most gifted quarterback in this class, but he’s also quite raw and will require plenty of patience."