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Malik Willis Rumors: Steelers 'Liked What They Saw' at Pro Day amid NFL Draft Buzz

Adam WellsApril 28, 2022

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to select a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, Malik Willis appears to be the safest bet. 

NFL.com's Peter Schrager projects the Liberty star to end up in black and yellow at pick No. 20 in his latest mock draft, noting the Steelers "liked what they saw" from Willis during his pro day. 

Projecting landing spots for the top quarterbacks in this year's draft class has been a challenge. 

Willis appears to have separated himself from the pack based on his ceiling. His pro day last month highlighted the ways in which he could develop into a star quarterback. 

NFL Network @nflnetwork

Unbelievable throw. Great celebration. <a href="https://twitter.com/malikwillis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malikwillis</a> is doing it all. <br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/LibertyFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LibertyFootball</a> Pro Day on NFL Network <a href="https://t.co/9M30Nw39Te">pic.twitter.com/9M30Nw39Te</a>

Here's what NFL.com's Dan Parr wrote about Willis after his workout in front of NFL scouts and team personnel:

"There was no question about his arm strength—he proved that during his college career and at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month—but he still showed off his ability on some deep passes that drew big reactions from the crowd gathered for the workout in Lynchburg, Virginia. That said, he displayed the ability to slow the tempo down on underneath throws when necessary. Also, he took some snaps from under center, which was important, considering he worked pretty much exclusively from the shotgun in high school and college."

Per ESPN's David Newton, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was among the contingent in Virginia to watch Willis' pro day, and they had dinner together the night before the event. 

"I'm like, 'Mike Tomlin's eating chicken wings?'" Willis told reporters after his workout. "That's what you want. I mean, he's a normal dude."

If Willis' talent has tantalized as many teams as it seems, there's a chance the Steelers would have to consider moving up to select him.

The Carolina Panthers (No. 6), Seattle Seahawks (No. 9) and New Orleans Saints (Nos. 16 and 19) are among the teams picking ahead of Pittsburgh that could have interest in a quarterback. 

The Steelers did sign Mitchell Trubisky as a stop-gap option if they don't come out of the draft with a potential starter. 

Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Bradshaw are the only first-round quarterbacks selected by the Steelers in the common draft era (since 1970).     

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