The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine ended on Sunday, which means another important part of the pre-draft process is complete. With those proceedings now complete in Indianapolis, we can expect plenty of recaps from mainstream media, many of which are trying to place certain prospects with certain NFL teams. On Sunday night, the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger started doing just that when it came to one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, Liberty’s Malik Willis.
“The guy I know who can push it down the field is Malik Willis,” Baldinger said just after the combine ended on Sunday. “And what I matched him with is that I have a game with the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th pick. I mean, they’re going to lose a Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. They have to replace it. And I think the succession plan is Malik Willis.
“And when you watch him throw the ball, he has a strong arm. That’s what we saw from Ben when he came out of Ohio almost 20 years ago. And it’s time to replace it. When you play in this AFC North, as you know, you have to be able to push the ball in crazy weather. In Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. And it seems like quarterbacks are thriving in this division.
I don’t think Baldinger is breaking new ground here with him linking Willis to the Pittsburgh Steelers, because it’s been done quite a bit so far this offseason, especially since the Senior Bowl was almost a month ago. With the combine now complete and finished, I suspect we’ll continue to see Willis tied to the Steelers as a potential 20th-round first-round pick, as the Liberty product has done nothing to hurt his stock in Indianapolis.
While it’s okay to tie Willis to the Steelers, the big issue is whether or not he’ll fall to them in the first round. Most drafts and fans don’t believe Willis will fall that far and therefore believe the Steelers will have to trade top 10 to select him if they covet him heavily. Moving up 10 spots could potentially cost the Steelers their first draft pick of 2023 in a deal.
Liberty Pro Day is set to take place on March 22, and we should probably expect Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin to both be in attendance. If they both attend, speculation will increase even further that the team will look to sign Willis in the first round, and potentially even do so. As Baldinger, he seems genuinely convinced that Willis is destined to be a member of the Steelers.
“And I think Malik Willis is a good candidate and I think he has a good upside and I think Najee Harris is going to love that he has that ability to take off as well,” Baldinger said Sunday night.