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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Interview Duke CB Al Blades Jr.

The Pittsburgh Steelers interviewed Duke cornerback Al Blades Jr., who has plenty of Pittsburgh connections himself.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Al Blades Jr.

The Pittsburgh Steelers interviewed Duke cornerback Al Blades Jr., according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2-TV in Houston. If you recognize that last name, it is because Blades Jr. has plenty of ties to the NFL and premier college programs. His father, Al Blades Sr. played at Miami in the early 2000s and he is the nephew of Beanie and Brian Blades. His cousin, H.B. Blades, played in the NFL for four seasons with the Commanders but also played his college football at Pitt. So, there are some Pittsburgh ties for Blades Jr.

Wilson states that the Steelers are just one team to interview Blades, who has interviewed with the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants and has interest from the Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Francisco 49ers. Blades visited the Miami Dolphins as well.

Starting out in Miami, he transferred to Duke. In his final season with the Blue Devils, Blades posted 47 tackles and ten pass deflections. As it stands, he profiles as a likely undrafted free agent. Coming in at 6-feet, 194 pounds at his pro day, Blades ran a 4.56 40-yard dash and added a 33 1/2-inch vertical. Overall, he tested as an average athlete but might be able to move inside and play in the slot at the next level.

The Steelers have a significant need in the slot, where Blades could play at the NFL level, after the team let 2023 regulars Chandon Sullivan and Patrick Peterson go via free agency. But he would likely be thrown into the fray of completion with a draft pick potentially coming in to take that job, anyways. Regardless, with his NFL bloodlines, that is a staple that the Steelers love in their players, and so Blades has to be firmly on the team’s radar heading into the week before the NFL Draft.