PITTSBURGH — When he came out of Iowa in 2017, Desmond King thought he would be a Pittsburgh Steeler. But the Steelers never ended up picking the talented slot cornerback. Six years later, it all comes full circle as King realizes what he calls ‘a dream’ of playing for the team.
“I’m so excited to be here,” King said. “It’s like a dream come true. I always wanted to play for Mike (Tomlin) and the City of Pittsburgh. It was always a good atmosphere coming here and playing. I know it’s going to be great.”
Desmond King has an All-Pro honor to his name. The punt return part of his game at 28 years old will not go anywhere. But his fit in the secondary is a little bit more interesting. King can play inside and outside, but the Steelers could use him as a blitzer, one of his best traits. But he can play anywhere the team wants him to suit up.
“Everybody says I’m a natural nickel because I have a knack for the ball,” King said. “I feel like I’m a football player. You can put me anywhere on the field. I’m going to make it happen.”
King enters the locker room, ready to embrace what Tomlin brings. But the leadership qualities of Tomlin drew King to the locker room. He loves that his play style matches what the Steelers look for in the nickel. King could be a Mike Hilton type of player. That is what his aim could be entering the season.
“It was just the kind of player I am,” King said. “It was a perfect fit for me. (Tomlin) said I’m the kind of player that needs to be in this organization. I play fast. I tackle well. I’m physical. As long as I want to win, this was the place for me to be.”
Perhaps he should have been a Steeler earlier. Back in 2017, as part of his pre-draft process, King said that he thought the Steelers were the best fit for him coming out of Iowa.
“I would say the Pittsburgh Steelers,” King said to Big Ten Network, as Steelers Depot wrote in 2017. “The only reason why I would say that is because they are a heavily-based zone team and their defensive scheme is kind of similar to ours here at Iowa. It’s a tough defense, it’s a defensive team and they have guys that are going to go out 110 percent each and every game and play all out.”
He’ll also be filling a need for the Steelers, who went through training camp without picking a starter at slot cornerback and flirted with but didn’t actually do a lot of, moving veteran Patrick Peterson into the slot. King has experience at both positions but should shore up the team’s depth chart significantly with his addition