The NFL draft is just twenty four hours away.  We have scoured the internet for every clue, logged every Pro-Day visit, and listened to every word both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have uttered about this draft class.  Now it is time to put out our  Steelers mock draft 5.0.  At this point we are thoroughly convinced Pittsburgh will take a quarterback in round one.  After that however, it gets extremely interesting given this team has no major holes left to fill.  With that in mind, let’s get to it:

Round 1: Malik Willis – QB, Liberty:

It has been quite obvious since the Liberty Pro-Day that the Pittsburgh Steelers are infatuated with Malik Willis.  He is almost certainly the preferred quarterback for this organization in the 2022 draft.  The big question is will Willis still be there when the Steelers select at 20?  My gut tells me no, but some of the draft experts I trust the most believe he will be.  In earlier mock drafts, we have a trade up to ensure Pittsburgh gets their man.  Piecing together the clues on who will be the Steelers first round pick

In this final mock we are going to trust the experts, and have the Steelers stay at 20.  If Malik Willis is still on the board, this team will sprint to the podium with this pick.  I still have my doubts he lasts this long, and there is still a very real possibility of a trade up.  Either way, Malik Willis is the selection in round one.

Others possibles – Desmond Ridder QB Cincinnati, Dax Hill S Michigan, Kyle Hamilton S Notre Dame, Jordan Davis DT Georgia

Round 2:  George Pickens – WR, Georgia

Just when we were sure safety would be the pick in round two, the Steelers go and re-sign Terrell Edmunds.  The next most pressing need now becomes wide receiver.  Pittsburgh brought a large contingency to the Georgia Pro-Day.  Included in that group was wide receiver coach Frisman Jackson.  It just so happens that Jackson put Pickens through his workout that day.  If Pickens is still on the board, he is a near lock to be the Steelers second round pick.

Other possibles – Alec Peirce WR Cincinnati, Nick Bonito EDGE Oklahoma, David Ojabo EDGE Michigan, Jaquan Brisker S Penn. St, Lewis Cine S Georgia

Round 3: Josh Paschal – EDGE, Kentucky

The EDGE position is an underrated need for this team heading into the 2022 season.  Having a quality third outside linebacker will be  crucial to keep the snap counts of TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith to a reasonable level.  Josh Paschal has been moving up draft boards rapidly over the last few weeks.  He scored an eye popping 9.7 on the RAS scoring system making him the type of athlete this team covets at outside linebacker.

Pro Scouting Director Brandon Hunt attended the Kentucky Pro-Day giving us more evidence linking the Steelers to this player.  We believe this team will take an edge somewhere in this draft, Paschal here in the third seems like the perfect spot.

Other possibles – Daniel Faalele OT Minnesota, Dominique Robinson EDGE Miami (OH), Marcus Jones CB Houston, Danny Gray WR SMU, Martin Emerson CB Mississippi

Round 4: Tariq Castro-Fields – CB, Penn St.

Just another in a long line of athletic freaks Penn St. has churned out over the last few years.  Tariq Castro-Fields scored a 9.74 RAS score led by a ridiculous 4.38/40 yard dash.  There isn’t much in terms of production here with only 3 career interceptions.  He does however have 25 career passes defended.  The athletic profile alone makes this worth a fourth round flier for the Steelers.  

Other possibles: Jalen Armor-Davis CB Alabama, Matt Henningsen DT Wisconsin, Nick Cross S Maryland, Justin Ross WR Clemson, Pierre Strong RB South Dakota St.

Round 6: Joey Blount – S, Virginia

As we stated earlier, safety has moved down the list of needs with the signing of Terrell Edmunds.  With it being only a one year contract, we couldn’t leave our Steelers mock draft 5.0 without still drafting a safety.  Blount was brought in for a pre-draft visit by the Steelers, so there is interest here.  He scored a 9.62 RAS score meaning he fits the athletic mold the Steelers love on defense.

Other possibles – Tycen Anderson S Toledo, Bo Melton WR Rutgers, Christopher Allen EDGE Alabama, Eyioma Uwarzike DT Iowa St.

Round 7a: Eric Johnson – DT, Missouri St.

Depending on who you believe, the seventh round may be too late for Eric Johnson.  He is from a small school at Missouri St. so we will take our chances he’s still available in the seventh round.  Johnson fits the mold perfectly of what the Steelers like at defensive end.  He stands 6’4, and weighs in right at 300lbs.  Add that to the 9.1 RAS score and this could be a steal this late in the draft for Pittsburgh.

Other possibles – Ty Chandler RB North Carolina, Chance Campbell LB Mississippi, Isaiah Weston WR Northern Iowa, Scott Nelson S Wisconsin

Round 7b Jalen Nailor – WR, Michigan St.

Even with the addition of Myles Boykin, the Steelers wide receiver room remains thin.  Nailor ran a so-so 4.5/40, but his nearly 19 yards per catch average prove he can get open deep.  He also did some punt, and kick returning at Michigan St.  This would be a nice special teams addition with starting wide receiver upside.