Main QB prospect Malik Willis visits Steelers on final day for prospect visits ahead of 2022 NFL Draft

Already familiar with him, that didn’t stop the Steelers from inviting Malik Willis to visit the Pittsburgh facility on the last day teams are allowed to speak with prospects ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. Willis, a former Liberty standout and a of the highest-rated quarterbacks in this year’s draft, visited the Steelers’ facility Wednesday, according to Ray Fittipaldo of Pittsburgh Post Gazette. The Las Vegas draft starts in just eight days.

A month ago, the Steelers boss watched Willis work out during his professional day. On the eve of his professional day, Willis and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin connected during dinner. Tomlin also spoke with Willis after a Senior Bowl practice in February.

Designed as a first-round pick, the 1.80m and 100-pound Willis had a successful run at Liberty after starting his college career at Auburn. During his two seasons at Liberty, Willis completed 62.4% of his passes with 47 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. He was also lethal on the ground, with 1,822 yards, 27 touchdowns and an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

Along with Willis, future quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell, Carson Strong and Chris Oladokun visited the Steelers ahead of the draft. The Steelers, who are expected to spend a high draft pick on a quarterback, have the 20th overall pick and 52nd overall pick.

Two of our five CBS Sports NFL Draft Specialists have the Steelers leading Willis with the 20th overall pick. Meanwhile, Ryan Wilson took a different approach; he’s got the Steelers drafting defensive lineman Jordan Davis with that pick, so using the 52nd pick to catch Ridderwho last fall helped the Cincinnati Bearcats win a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The Steelers are expected to select a quarterback following the retirement of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who hung up his boots after a highly decorated 18-year career. Pittsburgh signed former Bears Pro Bowler Mitchell Trubisky to a two-year contract earlier this offseason. The Steelers still have 2018 third-round pick Mason Rudolph, who will try to compete with Trubisky for the starting spot during training camp.

While the starting job in 2022 is either Trubisky or Rudolph, the Steelers rookie quarterback (assuming they draft one) would essentially be given a redshirt season to grow while he got used to the NFL. That was the plan for Roethlisberger in 2004, before an injury to Tommy Maddox pushed Roethlisberger into the huddle just two weeks into his rookie campaign. Big Ben ended up winning his first 14 matches en route to receiving Rookie of the Year honors.

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