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2022 NFL Draft

Mel Kiper: Malik WIllis is a ‘Right-Handed Version of Michael Vick’

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Malik Willis

Malik Willis and the Steelers have plenty of noise surrounding them with a little over a month left before the NFL Draft. From many perspectives, it makes a ton of sense. Willis has a phenomenal arm, great athleticism, and intangibles that put him through the roof.

Still, however, those same qualities are what could make him less available to Pittsburgh in the draft as well. Even though ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. mocked Willis to Pittsburgh in his latest mock draft, he acknowledges the talents of Willis. When speaking to the media on a conference call on Wednesday, Kiper still said Willis in the Top-10 does not make sense, as he would rather wait later in the first round to take a swing.

“If you’re picking in the top 10, that’s way too rich for me,” Kiper said. “I sought this from my friends in the league who don’t need quarterbacks, but they don’t have any quarterbacks ranked in the Top 10. But it only takes on quarterback-needy team to jump on it, obviously. I’m just not sure if that guy is in this class.”

Kiper pointed out obvious flaws in a team like Atlanta or Detroit spending their Top-10 pick on a quarterback in this draft would bring. With Kenny Pickett and Willis ranked as his 19th and 20th players overall respectively, Kiper sees that as a spring for teams later in the first round to take those guys. Still, Kiper believes that teams could see the upside with Willis and swing for him in the Top-10.

“Obviously, he interviews unbelievable,” Kiper said. “He’s got the rocket arm. I compared him yesterday to, he’s kind of a right-handed version of Michael Vick in a lot of ways. I could definitely see Carolina at six, Atlanta at eight, Seattle at nine taking Malik Willis. He would be the one because you’re rolling the dice on talent, you’re betting on the talent. I’d prefer him to go somewhere like New Orleans at eighteen or Pittsburgh at twenty, but it only takes one team.”

Regardless of if Willis drops to 20 or the Steelers have to trade up for him, the comparison to Vick is interesting. Given how dynamic Vick was at his peak, Willis could offer some very real appeal to teams much further in front of Pittsburgh as a result.

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