The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a situation that they have not found themselves in for a long time.
The NFL team will be in the market for a new quarterback next season following the retirement of long-time quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after a loss in the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Steelers can now go one of two ways. They can either go and get a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo or Aaron Rodgers to try and continue to compete in the playoffs, or look to the NFL Draft and begin to develop a young quarterback for the future.
Should they decide to draft a quarterback, it appears that they have a clear target. The Steelers reportedly “clearly prefer” Liberty quarterback Malik Willis over Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett.
An NFL source told me yesterday that the #Steelers clearly prefer Liberty QB Malik Willis to Pitt QB Kenny Pickett.
— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) February 3, 2022
Just for what it’s worth, I’ve heard the Steelers interest in Willis is very legit and a very poorly kept secret.
Knowing how the Steelers do business, they are very intentional about who they like. They don’t hide it. https://t.co/Tb1xh7D2n4
— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) February 3, 2022
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has said that once Roethlisberger retires that he wants a mobile quarterback to take over the team. Willis gives you the combination of mobility and great arm strength that seems to pique the team’s interest.
Tomlin, yet again, makes it clear he wants next QB to be mobile.
"Man, quarterback mobility is valued."
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) January 18, 2022
Pickett and Willis are among the two most heavily touted quarterbacks in the draft along with Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Willis has been the talk of the Senior Bowl practices so far this week, impressing in some difficult throwing conditions throughout the week.
#Liberty QB Malik Willis was impressive today. He was able to clean up his accuracy from Day 1. Looked much more confident today and even showed his mobility. The ball explodes off of his hand and he had lots of nice tosses on Day 2. He has the strongest arm of any QB in Mobile.
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) February 2, 2022
Malik Willis has been the most impressive QB here through 2 practices.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 2, 2022
Given how we have seen signal-callers such as New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones shoot up draft boards with impressive Senior Day performances, it is not an overreaction to say that we could see Malik Willis be the first quarterback off the board in April.