NFL Draft 2022 Rumors: QB Malik Willis to Visit Lions, Steelers amid Panthers Buzz

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 18, 2022

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis runs through passing drills during Liberty Football Pro Day in Lynchburg, Va., on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)
AP Photo/Kendall Warner

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis will visit the Detroit Lions on Tuesday and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The Lions hold three picks (Nos. 2, 32 and 34) in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL draft set to begin April 28 in Las Vegas.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 20th overall selection in the first round.

Willis has been in high demand during the predraft process and visited the Carolina Panthers last week. The team has the sixth overall selection when the draft begins April 28 in Las Vegas.

He also had scheduled visits with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Tennessee Titans, per ESPN's Adam Schefter

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler previously listed the Panthers, Falcons and Seattle Seahawks as possible landing spots for Willis. All have picks inside of the top 10. 

Fowler recently reported Willis is "in the mix" for the Lions at No. 2:

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

Couple <a href="https://twitter.com/SportsCenter?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SportsCenter</a> draft notes with <a href="https://twitter.com/HannahStormESPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HannahStormESPN</a><br><br>Would Derek Stingley be dream pick for Vikings?<br><br>Lions have done homework on Malik Willis, who could visit Detroit in coming days. <br><br>Packers’ WR outlook <a href="https://t.co/i24lTSOI7H">pic.twitter.com/i24lTSOI7H</a>

The Lions also hosted University of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have done their due diligence on other quarterbacks, including Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and North Carolina's Sam Howell, per Rapoport

Willis could be a highly sought-after player for a lot of teams thanks to his upside compared to others in the class. The 6'1", 225-pound signal-caller finished last season with a 61.1 percent completion rate for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns along with 878 yards and 13 scores on the ground.

His dual-threat ability to go with his strong arm gives him the tools to be a star, even if he needs time to reach his potential.

Detroit already has a starter in Jared Goff, but the 2016 top overall pick has yet to prove himself as a long-term option. The Lions could trade or release Goff next offseason while saving $20.7 million against the cap, per Spotrac.

Pittsburgh signed Mitchell Trubisky as the apparent starter for 2022, although he has few guarantees in his contract beyond this year. 

Adding a new franchise quarterback who doesn't need to start right away would be the best-case scenario for both teams heading into the draft.