We have fought the notion all off-season, but it is finally time to admit the obvious. The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to make a big move to get quarterback Malik Willis in this draft. We do not like the idea, but in our Steelers mock draft 4.0 we go through the scenario of Pittsburgh trading all the way up to five with the New York Giants. Using the trade chart, the Steelers would have to send their first round pick this year along with their first and third round picks next year. It’s a steep price to pay, but if they truly believe in Malik Willis as a franchise quarterback then its the move they have to make. With that in mind let’s get to it:
Round 1: Malik Willis QB, Liberty
In a weak class of quarterbacks, Malik Willis is truly the only one with the upside to an elite player in this draft. The combination of athleticism, and arm strength are very enticing despite many questions surrounding this player. Willis’ play regressed from his 2020 season, adding more concern about the small school players’ readiness to play in the NFL. It’s apparent that Willis should sit for at least a good portion of 2022. The combine confirmed the elite traits we all knew he had however. Malik Willis represents a pretty big risk when factoring in a big trade up like this. It’s a gamble for sure, but one that could end up paying big dividends in the end.
Round 2: Jaquan Brisker S, Penn St.
All of our mock drafts thus far have gone on the notion that the Steelers would eventually sign a significant free agent safety. The longer this goes on however, the less likely it is to happen. Now it seems like the team will sign a stop gap safety, and draft their long term starter. Jaquan Brisker is exactly what the Steelers need in a strong safety opposite Minkah Fitzpatrick. Brisker is a highly versatile player who can cover, and play the run equally well. His ball skills are far better than those of Terrell Edmunds, which would give the team another turnover threat in the secondary. The Steelers had both Brian Flores, and defensive backs coach Grady Brown at the Penn St. Pro-Day. This makes Jaquan Brisker a strong candidate to Pittsburgh if he were to fall to them in round two.
Round 3: Myjai Sanders EDGE, Cincinnati
This is a repeat from our mock draft 3.0 here with Myjai Sanders. Steelers mock draft 3.0: Post free agency madness edition
The Steelers sent just about everyone to the Cincinnati Pro-Day presumably to see Desmond Ridder. This also allowed them to take a look at the many defensive stars there as well. This team is in dire need of a productive third edge rusher, and Sanders would fit that bill quite nicely. He scored just under the coveted 9.0 RAS score, finishing up at a respectable 8.73.
Round 4: Danny Gray WR, SMU
The Steelers need some wide receiver depth in the worst way, and they get it here in the fourth round. Danny Gray has elite speed having run a 4.33/40 yard dash at the combine. It’s important to note that the Steelers sent new wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson to the SMU Pro-Day.
Round 6: Josh Jobe CB, Alabama
Long, tough corner who is highly competitive. Jobe should be an instant hit on special teams, while being a worthwhile project at corner. Pittsburgh had quite the contingent at the Alabama Pro-Day as well.
Round 7a: Tyler Goodson RB, Iowa
Every mock draft we have tried to find a change of pace back to take some of the load off of Najee Harris. In our Steelers mock draft 4.0, we landed on Iowa running back Tyler Goodson. Goodson is an excellent athlete (9.53 RAS), and had 70 career receptions at Iowa. He’s a little on the small side to be an every down back, but he would make an excellent all around weapon for Matt Canada’s offense.
Round 7b: Jalen Nailor WR, Michigan St.
We have maintained throughout our mock drafts that the Steelers will double dip at receiver in 2022. This time it is Jalen Nailor who becomes the second choice. Nailor does not possess elite speed (4.5/40), but he still managed to be a consistent big play threat at Michigan St.. He averaged 19.9, and 18.8 yards per catch his last two seasons. Nailor also did punt and kick returning giving him some added speacial teams value.