The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and the mock draft scene is starting to get insane. While some mock drafts get more attention than others, fans love to digest all the latest predictions and who people believe the Pittsburgh Steelers will select with the 20th overall pick in the three day selection process.
As for those mock drafts which gain more attention than others, ESPN’s Todd McShay would be one of those experts who see their work on the front page of many websites. In McShay’s recent mock draft he did a full two round simulation, and the Steelers made some interesting decisions in each round.
Let’s take a look at how the first round plays out, according to McShay:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
2. Detroit Lions - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
3. Houston Texans - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
4. New York Jets - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
5. New York Giants - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
6. Carolina Panthers - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
7. New York Giants (via CHI) - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
8. Atlanta Falcons - Drake London, WR, USC
9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
10. New York Jets (via SEA) - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
11. Washington Commanders - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
12. Minnesota Vikings - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
13. Houston Texans (via CLE) - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
14. Baltimore Ravens - Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA) - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
16. New Orleans Saints (via PHI/IND) - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
17. Kansas City Chiefs (via mock trade with LAC) - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) - Devin Lloyd, ILB, Utah
19. New Orleans Saints (via PHI) - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
All signs are pointing toward Pittsburgh drafting a quarterback, and in this scenario, it doesn’t even have to move up to get one of the top two passers in the class. Willis is creative outside the pocket and has a rocket arm, and I actually have him ranked one spot ahead of Kenny Pickett at No. 21 on my board. With Mitch Trubisky on a one-year deal, there’s no rush for Willis to play right away, and coach Mike Tomlin could develop Willis before turning over the keys. The AFC North is stacked at QB, but Willis has the upside to get the Steelers right back in the mix.
21. New England Patriots - Nakobe Dean, ILB, Georgia
22. Green Bay Packers (via LV) - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
23. Arizona Cardinals - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
24. Dallas Cowboys - George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
25. Buffalo Bills - Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
26. Tennessee Titans - Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
28. Green Bay Packers - Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
29. Los Angeles Chargers (via mock trade with KC/MIA/SF) - Zion Johnson, G/C, Boston College
30. Kansas City Chiefs - Boye Mafe, OLB, Minnesota
31. Cincinnati Bengals - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
32. Detroit Lions (via LAR) - Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Seeing the board fall this way in Round 1 was interesting. Pickett goes off the board to the Panthers at pick No. 6, and no other quarterback is selected until the Steelers take Willis at pick No. 20. The Steelers could have had a ton of talented players at other positions, players like Devonte Wyatt, Nakobe Dean and Tyler Linderbaum, but chose to go with a quarterback.
If the board falls this way, the Steelers will be making a ‘go big, or go home’ pick at the most important position in the sport. If it works out, the pick of Willis at No. 20 could be viewed as a steal. However, swing and miss and you will be left wondering what could have become if a different decision was made.
Let’s check out Round 2...
33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
34. Detroit Lions - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
35. New York Jets - Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
36. New York Giants - Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
37. Houston Texans - Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
38. New York Jets (via CAR) - Quay Walker, ILB, Georgia
39. Chicago Bears - Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
40. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) - Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
41. Seattle Seahawks - Logan Hall, DE, Houston
42. Indianapolis Colts (via WSH) - George Pickens, WR, Georgia
43. Atlanta Falcons - Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
44. Cleveland Browns - Travis Jones, DT, UConn
45. Baltimore Ravens - Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
46. Minnesota Vikings - Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
47. Washington Commanders (via IND) - Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
48. Atlanta Falcons (via mock trade with CHI/LAC) - Sam Howell, QB, UNC
49. New Orleans Saints - John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
50. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA) - Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
51. Philadelphia Eagles - David Ojabo, OLB, Michigan
52. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Terrell Edmunds could still re-sign in Pittsburgh, but even if he does, Minkah Fitzpatrick is entering the final year of his deal. The Steelers could use a talented safety on a cheap contract to protect against losing either or both of them. Brisker is at his best working near the line of scrimmage thanks to above-average tackling skills and great instincts.
53. Green Bay Packers (via LV) - Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
54. New England Patriots - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
55. Arizona Cardinals - Nik Bonitto, OLB, Oklahoma
56. Dallas Cowboys - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
57. Buffalo Bills - Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
58. Chicago Bears (via mock trade with ATL/TEN) - Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
59. Green Bay Packers - Drake Jackson, OLB, USC
60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
61. San Francisco 49ers - Nick Cross, S, Maryland
62. Los Angeles Chargers (via mock trade with KC) - Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
63. Cincinnati Bengals - Leo Chenal, ILB, Wisconsin
64. Denver Broncos (via LAR) - Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know much about Jaquan Brisker as a prospect, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard, so I found some information on him as a prospective safety.
This from the Draft Network:
Penn State Safety Jaquan Brisker would, in most classes, be considered a strong bet for SAF1 on the positional rankings. This is a well-rounded player who has made the most of his time in Happy Valley to develop himself into a “do it all” defender on the back end of the Lions’ defense. A JUCO transfer from Lackawanna College, Brisker entered the 2021 season with a small sample size as a starting player for Penn State but plenty of bright flashes—those bright flashes sustained themselves game over game and week over week, steadily building one of the most consistent and impressive film resumes in the Big Ten for this past season.
Brisker is a leader on the Lions’ defense as well, offering energetic play in all phases of the position. From an alignment standpoint, Brisker has injected enthusiasm in his ability to play in all roles. He’s manned the high post in middle of the field closed coverage in the Lions’ Cover 3 shell, but has made appearances on the B-level in subpackages, including in some short-yardage situations and in the red zone to take advantage of his length, hitting power, and ability to blow up blocks. Brisker has also shown the ability to play in the slot and handle some man-to-man assignments as well, meaning he’s going to appeal to multiple coverage roles and should have a fit within just about every defensive system going forward. Brisker’s increased ball production is something to be excited about and he’s made a lot of his big plays in big moments on the field—none better than the game-sealing interception in the red zone against Wisconsin to open the season. That play encapsulates a lot of what Brisker brings to the table as a cerebral defender, as his anticipation and recognition allowed him to start on the opposite hash and work into the MOF to undercut the throw and seal a win in the final minutes for Penn State. This would be an exciting addition to any secondary in need of versatility and game-changing plays.
Ideal role: Starting free safety (in a defense with interchangeable safety roles)
Scheme tendencies: Multiple coverage shells, aggressive blitz approach, and high usage of nickel personnel with shadowing assignments in man coverage.
We all know about plenty about Willis, so what do you think of McShay’s latest mock draft? Would you be happy with the picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the team as they continue through free agency and the upcoming draft.