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2024 NFL Draft

Report: Steelers Sign Merricmack DB Darion McKenzie

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed defensive back Darion McKenzie to a contract, racking up the UDFA counter to six.



Pittsburgh Steelers Darion McKenzie

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed undrafted free agent defensive back Darion McKenzie out of Merrimack, according to the Mack Report. Pittsburgh is now making it a habit to sign Merrimack players, as they signed James Nyamwaya last season along the defensive line.

In nine games, McKenzie had three interceptions. The school announced on Monday evening that McKenzie had inked a deal with the Steelers, though that did not officially show up and has not been announced by the team. So, it could be a rookie minicamp tryout.

Of course, it remains to be seen if this is a true signing, but if so, it would be the Steelers second undrafted free agent signing for a defensive back, joining Beanie Bishop. McKenzie measured in a 6-foot, 183 pounds at his pro day as a graduate student. The 40 number was not great, running a 4.71 40-yard dash, but he made up for it in explosiveness, posting a 38-inch vertical and 10-foot-2-inch broad jump.

McKenzie had been at Merrimack since 2017, where he played as a freshman. He will come out as a 25-year-old rookie, which will stack the deck against him a bit more in these classes. But he has ball production and explosiveness, and those are two traits to back on whenever looking at guys like McKenzie.

In the past, McKenzie has been a punt and kick returner, so that adds to his special teams value. If he is going to make the team properly, he will have to show out in those areas, and likely as a key member of the new kickoff coverage team and punt return teams since spots are up for grabs on the Steelers roster.

Over his entire career, McKenzie had seven interceptions, with a career-high of three tying his 2019 season. If he is going to make the team, that ball-hawking skills have to rise to the top as well.