The Pittsburgh Steelers may continue a trend of revamping their secondary during the 2024 offseason, potentially adding another Penn State cornerback in Kalen King, according to a prediction by Bleacher Report.
After Thursday’s release of Akhello Witherspoon, the previous release of Art Maulet and contract years coming up for James Pierre, Chandon Sullivan and Levi Wallace, the Steelers will likely look to add depth in the secondary once again in the 2024 NFL Draft.
According to Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report, these are three potential targets for the Steelers in the coming year:
Kalen King, Penn State
With this pick, the Steelers would continue the trend of drafting talented cornerbacks from Penn State after taking Joey Porter Jr. with the 32nd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“A strong secondary is one of the keys for Pittsburgh to reclaim the divisional crown, and if Witherspoon and Wallace move on in free agency, it will need to look at someone like King in the first round,” Tansey wrote.
King, a junior from Detroit, is 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and has been rated as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft class. In a recent mock draft by ESPN’s Todd McShay, King was the second corner taken off the board, coming off in the 16th spot.
“Whereas Joey Porter Jr. is long and physical, King is more fluid and an easy mover,” McShay wrote. “His movements appear effortless. And King is a pure cover man, breaking up 15 passes (tied for fifth in the FBS) and picking off three more last season.”
In King’s junior season this past year, he amassed 30 total tackles, three interceptions, and one forced fumble. This sort of production would be welcome on a Steelers secondary that has ranked as low as 28th in football according to PFF.
Cooper DeJean, Iowa
Cooper DeJean is a talented corner who can play both outside and in the slot, and is quite the ballhawk. This past year, the 6-foot-1, 209-pound Iowa native recorded five interceptions, taking three back for a touchdown. Additionally, he made 75 tackles, best for third on an elite Iowa Hawkeyes defense. DeJean has played linebacker and safety for the Hawkeyes in addition to cornerback.
Javon Bullard, Georgia
The Steelers may turn to back-to-back champions for a cornerback once again in next year’s draft. Bullard is an incoming junior on the Georgia Bulldogs squad who produced 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and 3 passes deflected in a strong sophomore season that also included 46 tackles. Bullard looks to only improve from here, and strong competition in the SEC allows professional teams, including the Steelers, to not have to worry about readiness for the pros. The Steelers are well versed, having drafted three Georgia players in the last two draft classes with wide receiver George Pickens, tackle Broderick Jones and tight end Darnell Washington.