At the NFL Combine, NFL Draft prospect Malik Willis was asked about how he’d fit in the Steelers offense. A soundbite came off as fairly negative.
Willis has been connected to the Steelers since he entered the draft pool, as Pittsburgh needs a Ben Roethlisberger replacement and would prefer someone mobile. The Liberty product fits all those needs, and despite being seen as a project, definitely has Pro Bowl potential.
At the NFL Combine, Willis was asked how he thought he’d work in the Steelers offense. A tweet from ESPN’s Brook Pryor paraphrasing Willis’ response went viral for the wrong reasons.
Oof. On the surface, that doesn’t sound great, but it’s important to take Willis’ entire commentary into perspective. Willis is also at the Combine, so he wants to keep his options open.
A video from DK Pittsburgh Sports shows the full back and forth, in which Willis is incredibly honest, saying he doesn’t know much about the offense but he’s enjoyed talking with the Steelers’ coaching staff.
Steelers rumors: Malik Willis remains a good fit
Willis’ mobility would be perfect in the Steelers’ offense, though he likely wouldn’t start Year 1. Playing behind a suspect offensive line can set a rookie back, rather than help them take a step forward early on.
The Steelers’ offense offers plenty of weapons on the outside, as well as a stout rushing attack led by Najee Harris. But up front, they’re a disaster, and Matt Canada has plenty to prove in his own right scheme-wise.
So, should we blame Willis for blunt commentary? No, not so much. It’s rare to find an NFL Draft prospect willing to be honest, and Willis is likely the first and only quarterback who will admit to not being fluent in the Steelers’ playbook…yet.