Dale Lolley is co-host of SNR Drive on Steelers Nation Radio. Check out SNR's Combine programming schedule here: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) | Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers.com
INDIANAPOLIS - Typically, many start talking about the NFL Draft only when the league holds its annual Scouting Combine here in Indianapolis.
But this year, because five of the top six quarterback prospects available in this year's draft took part in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month, it's a little different.
Teams don't have to wait to see what Pitt's Kenny Pickett, Liberty's Malik Willis, North Carolina's Sam Howell, Nevada's Carson Strong and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder look like throwing the ball one after another. They got to see it in Mobile, as only Matt Corral of Mississippi was among this year's crop of top quarterbacks who wasn't at that all-star game.
"When you're talking about the quarterback, you want to see them all throw," said Fran Duffy, host of Eagles Journey to the Draft, who joined Steelers Nation Radio's live broadcast from Indianapolis on Tuesday. "We just saw it three weeks ago down in Mobile. This is really the second step in that."
That part of the draft process will take place Thursday night. Wednesday, the quarterbacks will handle their media sessions and get their measurements taken.
The player with the most to gain this week, according to Duffy?
"I think if you're looking just at traits, Malik Willis is it," Duffy said. "You'd put it up there with Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray. We'll see him throw."
And it will occur in better weather than they had most of the week in Mobile, where it rained and was windy throughout the week. The workouts here at Lucas Oil Stadium are indoors.
Not that it necessarily matters to Willis.
"That one day, that Wednesday practice, it rained," Duffy said. "The seven-on-seven drills. It didn't affect him. He showed he has a big arm. There are things he's got to get better at. But when you look at other quarterbacks like him, they've made those jumps early in their careers."
• Steelers GM Kevin Colbert did several media sessions on Tuesday. But he might have saved his best answer of the day for his stop on Steelers Nation Radio. Asked if defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who missed the entire 2021 season because of a knee injury and the loss of his brother in a hit-and-run accident, has expressed a desire to return to play in 2022, Colbert said that he has. "Absolutely," Colbert said. "He wanted to play last year. He had a knee injury he had to work his way through and obviously the family situation that hurt along those lines. But we respected what he had to deal with. And we tried to support him the best as possible."
• Count Buccaneers head coach and former Steelers assistant coach Bruce Arians as a fan of Mike Tomlin's move to hire former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores as senior defensive assistant/linebacker coach.
"He needs to be a head coach in this league," Arians said in his media session Tuesday. "Obviously, Mike did a great job bringing him on."
• The Jaguars have the top pick in the draft for the second consecutive season. But after taking quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall last season, the team could be interested in trading back this year.
"You're always open for business," Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday. "Now, whether we'll be able to move it or not? But we're very comfortable taking the pick, as well."