“Kenny, whats up? Hey, whatchu doing tonight man? Ya’ll watching tv? What ya’ll got going on? You ready, you ready to come back to Oakland? Hey we’re about to make you a Pittsburgh Steeler brother. Congratulations to you and your family. Bro we’re excited to have you. Man this is awesome.”
“Whats up Steelers fans, can’t wait to get there, back home honestly tomorrow and get to work next door. It’s a dream come true, and I’m chasing my dreams and we’re going to win a Super Bowl soon,”
We all know the names..Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II..but how many Steelers fans know the name Dan Rooney Jr.?
Son of the late Daniel Rooney Sr, Jr started off as the ball boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the 1970’s. Working his way up to work for now recently inducted Hall of Fame equipment manager, Tony Parisi. Dan Jr. then went on to work in the ticket office for a few months, before becoming a part of the scouting department in 1997.
Starting his scouting career with the pick of former Steelers guard and Hall of Famer, Alan Faneca out of Louisiana State University. Dan also scouted now Pittsburgh quarterback, Mitch Trubisky back in 2017 at the University of North Carolina. Believing that Trubisky brings that Black & Gold mentality on and off the field.
Almost 20 years before Trubisky, Dan Jr. had his eyes set on an undrafted running back out of UNC, “Fast” Willie Parker. An undrafted free agent back in 2004 who set history by busting out a 75 yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL versus the Seattle Seahawks.
Now moving forward to present day. With the 2022 NFL Draft starting tomorrow, Rooney Jr. has mentioned certain quarterbacks the Steelers have focused on. Those quarterbacks being Pitt University’s Kenny Pickett, Liberty University’s Malik Willis(enjoyed dinner with him and his family), Ole Miss’s Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder at Cincinnati and UNC’s Sam Howell.
Notice in the video how Dan Rooney Jr emphasized on how he “Enjoyed dinner with Malik Willis and his family”? Did he mention that about any other of the quarterbacks? Nope.
Segway into the true topic of this blog. Yes, it is about the Unsung Scout, Dan Rooney Jr, who started from the bottom even as a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But also to let you know that Malik Willis will be our draft choice in the 1st round. #HereWeGo
Ok, I am not going to waste anytime with a bunch of long winded reasons behind my 2022 NFL Draft Predictions..I am just going to get right into which positions I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers will draft in the first three(3) rounds. So without further ado..#HereWeGo
FIRST ROUND: 20TH PICK..(QB) MALIK WILLIS..LIBERTY COLLEGE
At 6 foot 1 inches..weighing 225 pounds, Malik Willis may not be a “BIG” Ben sized quarterback, but he is a very..scratch that..an EXTREMELY mobile quarterback who is very accurate as well. His decision making has improved over his three(3) years at Liberty, and let’s face it. In the dominating AFC North..quarterbacks need to have mobility to deal with the speed of the defenses.
Although Malik may be considered by most NFL experts as “not NFL ready” compared to Kenny Picket, his style of play suits the Steelers offense more than any other quarterback in the draft. Place him behind a DeShaun Watson or a Jameis Winston for a year or so, Pittsburgh could be looking at their quarterback of the future.
SECOND ROUND: 52ND PICK..(OT) MAX MITCHELL..LOUISIANA
Mitchell, who stands at 6’6 and weight 297 pounds started at left and right tackle for the Ragin’ Cajuns, earning All-Sun Belt Conference accolades. He does, however need to correct a couple of bad habits and get stronger, but what offensive lineman doesn’t?
His foot quickness, play speed and length offers Mitchell a chance to stick as a backup swing tackle in a zone-based scheme as starter potential down the road. Especially within a deep run-heavy offense. Something that the Steelers will be needing after the drafting of Najee Harris last season.
THIRD ROUND: 84TH PICK..(DT)..PHIDARIAN MATHIS..ALABAMA
Although older than most at 24 years old, Mathis, is a 6’4″..312 lb defense tackle who could definitely become a cheap cost asset in the trenches. And with the potential departure of Stephon Tuitt this offseason, Phidarian is one draft pick that can cause Pittsburgh to shift its priorities.
Even with the return of Tyson Alualu, who the Steelers love, he will be turning 35 years old very soon. Plus after coming off a season ending ankle injury last year, there is no guarantee that he will be the same dominant player he has been in past years. Isaiahh Loudermilk looked promising during his rookie season, but the Steelers still need help along the defensive interior.
So there it is..for now. Keep in mind that Mock Drafts subject to change over free agency. Feel free to comment me with your “DRAFT WISH LIST.” #HereWeGo