ESPN’s Todd McShay unveiled his latest mock draft on Wednesday, and has the Pittsburgh Steelers trading up to snag their quarterback of the future. McShay predicts the Steelers will strike a deal with the Los Angeles Chargers in April’s draft, leaping up to the 17th-overall pick to select Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.
He believes Pittsburgh will have to trade up to get Willis by beating out the quarterback-needy New Orleans Saints, who are picking 18th.
McShay add that it would likely only cost Pittsburgh their current first round pick, a third-rounder and a late-rounder.
As for the Willis pick itself, McShay thinks Kevin Colbert will want to make a splash in his final draft as general manager. What better way to do that than leave Pittsburgh with their quarterback of the future?
“Now that Roethlisberger is retired and Colbert is stepping down, I think he’ll want to leave the organization in a good place for the future,” McShay wrote. “It already has the defense and a run game, and it was even a playoff team this past season. But the AFC North has some excellent quarterbacks, and the Steelers need an answer under center to keep contending.”
Willis is McShay’s highest-rated quarterback in the 2022 class, and has the physical tools to be a dynamic player at the next level.
“My top QB, Willis has the strongest arm in the class and can create outside the pocket, making tough off-platform throws look easy,” McShay adds. “He’s still developing, and he threw 12 interceptions last season, but the Steelers can build the offense around this dynamic passer.”
Willis began his career at Auburn, but burst onto the season after transferring to Liberty in 2019. He passed for 5,107 yards and 47 touchdowns with 18 interceptions over two seasons as the Flames’ starter.