Mayock 2017 Mock Draft: Steelers Select Kansas State EDGE Jordan Willis 30th Overall

NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock released his one and only mock of 2017 Wednesday night and it included two trades, three quarterbacks being selected and 17 total defensive players.

Mayock’s pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first-round was Kansas State edge-rusher Jordan Willis and here is what he said of the selection:

Willis had an outstanding combine. He needs to get stronger against the run, but he’s a natural bender who can get around the edge and rush the passer.

Willis is a very intriguing prospect when it comes to him potentially being the Steelers first-round selection this year. For starters, it appears the Steelers only sent a scout to his pro day and that likely may have been because general manager Kevin Colbert was back in Pittsburgh entertaining then-free agent linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Additionally, unless he went unreported, Willis wasn’t one of the Steelers pre-draft visitors during the month of April.

At this year’s scouting combine, Willis measured in at 6036, 255-pounds and his performance in Indianapolis resulted in a very high SPARQ score of 145.7. During his four years at Kansas State, Willis registered 114 total tackles that included 40.5 for a loss and 26 sacks. He was a three-year starter during his college career that included him serving as a team captain. He is about to turn 22 right after the draft takes place, appears to have a great character.

We don’t have long to wait to find out if Willis will be the Steelers first-round selection this year but in the meantime, I thought I would include a study of Mayock’s top 50 ranked players over the course of the last five years in this post being as it is centered around his Pittsburgh guess.

Much like fellow NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt, Mayock has had great success at identifying the first 32 players taken in any one draft in his top 50 rankled players over the course of the last five years. In fact, Mayock’s top 50 list last year included all but one player who was ultimately drafted in the first 32 selections and that was safety Keanu Neal, who he had ranked 58th overall.

In Mayock’s 2015 top 50 ranked players, he had all but two who were ultimately selected in the first 32 picks and they were tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and guard Laken Tomlinson, who he ranked 52nd and 53rd respectively.

In 2014, Mayock had his most misses in his top 50 as four players who were ultimately selected in the first 32 picks of the draft were not included on that list and they were Dominique Easley, Ja’Wuan James, Jimmie Ward and Marcus Smith. in 2013 and 2012, however, Mayock had all but one of the first 32 players selected in each of those drafts in his top 50. The misses were Travis Frederick and A.J. Jenkins.

In short, and probably not a huge surprise, you can probably count on this year’s Steelers first-round pick to come out of Mayock’s top 50 ranked players and you can see that list below. As you would probably expect, several players ranked after 19 had pre-draft visits with the Steelers while several others had their pro days attended by Colbert.

Mike Mayock’s 2017 NFL Draft top 50 prospect rankings

1. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
3. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
4. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
6. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
8. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
9. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
10. Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
11. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
12. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
14. John Ross, WR, Washington
15. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
16. Cam Robinson, T, Alabama
17. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
18. Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
19. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
20. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
21. Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin
22. Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
23. David Njoku, TE, Miami
24. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
25. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
26. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
27. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
28. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
29. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
30. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
31. Budda Baker, S, Washington
32. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
33. Garett Bolles, T, Utah
34. Kevin King, CB, Washington
35. T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin
36. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
37. Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
38. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
39. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
40. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
41. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
42. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
43. Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
44. DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
45. Marcus Williams, S, Utah
46. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
47. Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
48. Marcus Maye, S, Florida
49. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
50. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina

  • Mark DeSevo

    I would be very happy with Willis at 30

  • Matt Rippin

    I notice that a couple of the Steelers’ popular targets, Carl Lawson and Derek Rivers, aren’t on there.

  • harding36

    I was hoping to get him in the 2nd. Guess not.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    The one thing that worried me about Willis was that when he couldn’t beat you with his speed and the blocker had his hand on him he was stopped. I have warmed up to him more over the process but do not like him in the 1st.

  • george

    I would be shocked because they have shown very little interest. I think he would be the first 1st rounder in the Colbert era that neither Colbert or Tomlin visted his pro day and he was not brought in for a visit.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Man, Mayock’s track record when it comes to Mocks is actually really damn good. And everyone around here knows that I LOVE me some Jordan Willis. However, when I look over his mock, a lot of things stick out to me like a sore thumb. But the pick of Willis to us is not only possible, but potentially actually in the realm of possibility, since I do believe that Willis WILL still be on the board come pick 1.30. And that is obviously, key.

    I keep going back to the same things, over and over, especially as it pertains to all of the Edge rushers… Can they drop into coverage proficiently enough? If Willis would have had even an average amount of doing that, I’d have mocked him to us consistently at 30, for months. I ADORE everything else about the kid. Like, literally everything, on the field and off the field. Great kid.

    Last thing I’ll say… is MAYBE we actually can stomach to take a guy like Willis, teach him to drop best he can, and then use him as a QB killer, and move him all around the line in order to confuse teams and let him take advantage of his best skills/attributes. It’s really hard to wrap my head around us taking a guy, who normally I’d want to project all day as a perfect fit in a 4-3 scheme, like Willis certainly projects best to, IMO.

  • Darth Blount 47

    No, there has been almost no chance he lasts till 62, at least in my opinion. Too much production and Senior Bowl/Combine hype. So if we want him, it has to be at 30 or in a slight move down scenario.

  • JT

    I wouldn’t be disappointed, but certainly surprised. We’ve talked about how little interest they’ve shown, despite the obvious amount of boxes he checks. But Colbert/Tomlin weren’t at the Pro Day, he didn’t have a Pre-Draft visit, and he wasn’t interviewed at the combine (that we know of).

  • Shane Mitchell

    As Dave mentioned his pro day was the same day they had Hightower in for a visit, they met with him at the Senior bowl, and I could see why it is unnecessary to bring him in for a visit, he is a high character guy with no prior medical problems their doctors would need to check out, thats really the intent behind a visit to gather additional information on players where they might still have question marks. They could have had a private workout scheduled with him that we dont know about half of those go unreported and Willis said in an interview he had done private workouts for 15 teams.

  • RickM

    No, I really doubt it will be Willis. As the site has pointed out, the Steelers’ upper echelon didn’t have enough interaction with him. He’s not going to be a major ‘faller’ to 30 where that wouldn’t matter. I think Mayock is really good, but it’s natural that he doesn’t know the strong habits or even ‘tells’ of each team. I think they’ll look elsewhere.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    If they go elsewhere in the first round, I am praying OLB Rivers in the 2nd

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Is everyone certain they never spoke with Willis at the Senior Bowl or at the combine? If they did, by chance, perhaps they felt no need to get him in for a visit. Still a chance they pick him.

  • Carl Mendelius

    Willis has important flaws: he plays too tall and doesn’t bend to win the edge, he never wins with secondary moves and is very stiff around the corner falling to ground regularly. Bottom line Willis is no fun to watch. As usual people are putting too much weight to the combine numbers but Willis is inferior to Lawson, Harris and McKinley. He is a 2nd rounder and nothing more.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    THANK YOU!!!1

  • Shane Mitchell

    The interaction could be hidden because most are basing it on not being at his pro day, well his pro day was when Colbert was a bit busy trying to sign Hightower, and in the recent video about the draft process Colbert said he only likes to attend prodays that include multiple prospects he might be interested in. There could be interaction we dont know about, some teams tell prospects not to divulge information about private workouts, seems the Steelers could be one of those teams, we definitely have private workouts with a lot of prospects and it seems we seldom get any information on who they schedule for private workouts, for instance I can think of 3 private workouts that were leaked or reported involving the Steelers- WR Chris Godwin, Tanoh Kpassagnon. and Derek Rivers. Colbert couldnt or didnt want to attend their proday but I am sure he was present for their private workouts.

  • +1!!! I’d like to see Willis in B&G, but unless the front office is being VERY cagey re not tipping their hand to their interest in him, it’s hard to imagine why they’d show so little interest if they want him. We’ll see…

  • Darth Blount 47

    Agreed. It is essentially certain that they at the very least spoke to him at the Combine.

  • Shane Mitchell

    You are wrong about pretty much everything, he bends when needed to win the edge, the problem is people doing evaluations that never played the game and dont know what they are watching with the defensive scheme, when you contain rush you dont bend the edge, every pass rush isnt to sack the QB, I know its hard to grasp that idea if you dont know the defense but we run a lot of containment rushes in our defense also, anyone that has Le Beau’s playbook can open it to his nickel package and see drawings of containment rushes outside where he wanted his pass rushers to take a wide arc straight up the field, he draws the line exactly where they are supposed to go. That is what people are seeing on film on some pass rushes and thinking he cant bend, he isnt supposed to bend he is supposed to contain and stay square so a mobile QB doesnt run out of the pocket its part of the scheme. He can bend when he needs to bend, thats not every pass rush.

    You are also wrong about secondary pass rush moves, go watch the sack compilation Dave did on him, I bet you didnt see it huh? because no one that watched that would ever say he doesnt have secondary pass rush moves, its the opposite, he displays every pass rush move possible and strung multiple pass rush moves together for many sacks. He also has the hump move something very few edge rushers can do in this draft.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Last year, everybody in the “NFL Draft World” knew we were targeting William Jackson III. Rooney basically told us in his interview that the secondary was his top concern. The Steelers sent Colbert + Tomlin + Lake down to Houston’s pro day. They all took him out to dinner. And Jackson himself said he was surprised by how much interest the Steelers were taking in him. Their intentions to draft him in the 1st round couldn’t have been more obvious. Carnell Lake even let it slip afterwards that Jackson was going to be or pick. And what did we get as our reward?

    The Bengals swiped him right before us (when they clearly had obvious needs at WR and DE and even OL (if you look 1 year ahead).

    Now this is pure speculation, but I have to believe that the Rooneys heard the rumblings across the media/blog sites, that the Bengals beat the Steelers to the punch because we telegraphed our move so blatantly (very reminiscent to Darrell Revis). I have to believe the Rooneys were a bit embarrassed that they got “played” by the Bengals (of all teams). I have to believe the Rooneys had some type of conversion with Colbert and Tomlin as to whether or not they were too “obvious” in their intentions, and whether or not they should correct that the following year.

    I say that because the Steelers (specifically Colbert and Tomlin) have been extremely coy this year in the pre draft process. If you at their moves, they have done an excellent job of disguising their intentions. They could literally pick any one of the following positions: CB, S, ILB, OLB, TE, QB, and we would not be surprised.

    My point is that this particular year (because of what happened last year) I’m not looking at the pro day visits as the most important indicator. I’m not looking at the personal visits to Pittsburgh as the most important indicator. I’m not looking at the combine visits as the most important indicator. In fact, if there was ever a year to pick someone they had NOT visited very much with it’s this year.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    By selecting Artie Burns last year, the Steelers have shown they are wiling to draft a raw athlete in the first round if he fits a position of top need. And you will not find a better “athlete” at OLB than Jordan Willis. He is basically Bud Dupree 2.0 (but WITH stats).

    This past season, Jordan Willis was voted defensive player of the year in the Big 12 conference, with 11.5 sacks, 52 total tackles, 17.5 TFL, 3 FF, and 3 passes defensed. He dominated the combine with a 4.53 forty, 39 inch vert., and a ridiculous 6.85 three cone. And all this is while measuring 6’4″, 255, with nearly 34″ arms and 10″ hands. He has an outstanding motor, no signifiant injury history, and no off field red flags. What else would the Steelers possibly want?

    For weeks now, I have been mocking Willis in the 2nd round, and I have recently come to realize that there is no chance in hell he makes it to pick 2.30. Dallas might take him at pick 1.28. If we want Willis, we have to take him at 1.30. And there is no reason why Willis does not “qualify” for the pick. He checks all the boxes.

  • RickM

    You say that the problem is ‘people evaluating tape never played the game’. Mike Mayock has Harris taken at #15 and you call Harris a ‘joke 3rd rounder at best’. Care to explain, as Mayock has played in the NFL and his draft opinions are pretty well-respected. Maybe different people just look at tape and see different things, as opposed to them being wrong in their evaluation and you being right.

  • JT

    But that whole line of thinking assumes an organization would take a player to spite somebody else. And I just can’t believe that. Either you like the player, or you don’t. I wouldn’t want the Steelers to take someone just so New England can’t. That’s just silly.

    I get what you’re saying, though. They don’t have to be obvious. But they can’t compromise their draft process just to try and be coy. If they really like a player, they either go to the pro day or do a visit. It’s a history in the entire tenure of Colbert/Tomlin.

    I’m not saying they CAN’T pick Willis. But that doesn’t make it likely they will either.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Guess we can finally file away the notion of Carl Lawson being taken in the first

  • Shane Mitchell

    Athletically he tests around the 9th percentile, meaning at the position he will play in the NFL 91% of the players at that position in the league are better athletes, I cant think of a single player in the entire league that tests that low athletically and has succeeded in the NFL. He has made a living in college anticipating the snap count to make up for it and using a spin move that could give inexperienced tackles problems at that level, he did nothing against good competition, most of his production came in 3 games, basically against tackles that didnt know how to counter a spin move.

    He isnt going to beat anyone with his athletic ability in the NFL he is Jarvis Jones level athlete, accept Jarvis is stronger at the point than Harris, he cant play the run. I cant see him jumping the snap counts in the NFL or beating many top tackles in the NFL with one primary pass rush move. He is a weaker version of Jarvis Jones with a spin move, thats my opinion, maybe I am wrong, but I expect he will fall to the second or third round, we will see.

  • RickM

    Who cares? I am not disputing you liking Willis or disliking Harris – more power to you. I am simply saying that your ‘certainty’ that you are right and other people are wrong – when it comes to college football players – is not an absolute.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Carl –

    I respectfully disagree. I have seen Willis show “flashes” of bend on tape (just not very much).

    You are correct about his stiffness. You are correct about him playing too tall. You are correct about people putting too much weight on combine numbers. But I do not believe Willis is inferior to Lawson or McKinley, both of whom are just as stiff as Willis, in my opinion, and McKinley has zero pass rush moves (at least none that will work in the NFL).

    Harris definitely has better pass rush moves than Willis. I just don’t know if he has the pure power or pure athleticism to beat NFL left tackles. We shall see.

    As far as Willis. being fun to watch, I guess that’s a matter of opinion, but last year he had 11.5 sacks, 17.5 TFL, 3 FF. If he did that for the Steelers this year it would be very fun for me personally to watch.

    I think Willis is going to need about a year of technique work but I truly believe he will be able to translate his skills and production to the NFL level. However, I do respect your right to disagree.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Yes, I agree, I can come across as an A-hole about what I believe at times, and I am not always right. But you at least know where I stand on issues right? I say what I mean and mean what I say.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Yeah. Nobody would ever take a player they “hated” just to spite another team. But if there’s a good player that will help your team that you KNOW your division rival wants, you should absolutely consider “swooping” him away. Especially if it’s a splash player like edge rusher.

    I promise you the Bengals “knew” we were taking Jackson last year. I promise you the Ravens “thought” we were taking Maxx Williams a couple years ago. I promise you the Jets “thought” we were taking Darrelle Revis a few years back.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt


  • francesco

    Jarred Davis ILB can be moved all over and rush the QB as well. With the added bonus that he can cover a TE when required.

  • RickM

    No trouble with being assertive. I’m opinionated like everyone. Maybe it’s just an area where I think there are a few more greys and you see a broad spectrum of opinions. I’ll look forward to seeing who was right in the end, as I can’t solidly get behind anyone who I know will be available at 30. If we take Willis, of course I will hope you nailed it.

  • John Noh

    So, I’m reading that Conley is now projected to be a third rounder? If he’s there in the second round for the Steelers, do they take a flyer like the Cowboys did with Randy Gregory? OK, that’s not a positive example because Gregory has become the train wreck so many people feared he’d be.

  • John Noh

    Didn’t you just describe Jarvis Jones?

  • Applebite

    If you want Willis, you take him at #30. He’s the safe pick and one of the more positive picks in the first couple of days. He won’t last til the Steelers 2nd pick, however.

    …but man, don’t let Malik McDowell be on the board when they make that pick.

  • nikgreene

    The intention behind a top 50 is not predictive, so why make the connection between Mayock’s top 50 and the first round of the draft? This article only shows me that Mayock evaluates talent similar to the NFL. If Mayock’s number one player is drafted at the end of the second round, but turns into an all-pro – he was right because he evaluated the player correctly.

    I don’t mind the exercise overall, just as long as we admit we turning Mayock’s top-50 – which is not meant to be predictive – into a predictive tool.

  • Terrible Towlie

    i too

  • Ike Evans

    They should but they wont

  • Rick Tilves

    I would rather have T.J. Watt who has a Motor always Running & is a Workout Freak like Harrison who can teach him a lot,