The Steelers have officially signed rookie cornerback Darius Rush off the Chiefs practice squad and released Desmond King to make room on the 53-man roster.
Rush, 23, will be on his third NFL franchise as a pro in just a few months. The South Carolina alum was selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. However, he did not last long there.
The Colts waived Rush in their final round of cuts, and the Chiefs claimed him. Kansas City then waived him on Sept. 16 and added him to their practice squad. The Steelers had a vacant roster spot after releasing veteran inside and outside cornerback King.
A 6-foot-2, 198-pound defensive back, Rush projects to play mainly on the outside for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s backup nickel cornerback is likely Elijah Riley if Chandon Sullivan should suffer an injury.
A South Carolina native, Rush played for his home state, Gamecocks, first as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback. He played in 43 games at South Carolina and made 21 starts.
Rush first became a starter as a redshirt junior in 2021. He finished that season with 26 tackles, one for a loss, one interception, and eight passes defended.
As a redshirt senior in 2022, he had 38 tackles, two for a loss, two interceptions and seven passes defended. In addition to playing on the outside, Rush has significant special teams experience, racking up 15 tackles at South Carolina as a gunner in his first three seasons there.
Rush combined his above-average size with excellent speed in pre-draft testing. He ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and posted an overall 9.8 relative athletic score.
Darius Rush is a CB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.81 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 43 out of 2212 CB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/iNgLhREvA4 pic.twitter.com/LQK4osRZPw
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 14, 2023
The Steelers adding Rush and cutting King suggests they plan to use veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson in the slot more going forward. The only slot corners they have on the roster now are Chandon Sullivan and Elijah Riley. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has also played in the slot a good bit this season.
Pittsburgh now boasts numerous big cornerbacks with Rush and young players, too. Cory Trice, Joey Porter Jr., and Rush create a trio of young cornerbacks that the Steelers can develop with intriguing traits.