PFF 2017 Mock Draft: Steelers Select Iowa DB Desmond King 30th Overall

With the annual NFL scouting combine now right around the corner, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus released his latest mock of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Wednesday and he has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting a defensive back with the 30th overall selection.

Palazzolo, who adds a disclaimer in his latest mock that it reflects what he would do as GM of each team, has the Steelers selecting Iowa cornerback Desmond King in the first round with the 30th overall selection. He writes of his choice for the Steelers:

Even with Artie Burns added to the mix at cornerback last season, King’s fit is too much to pass up for the Steelers. He has an excellent feel for zone coverage, and few teams play more zone than Pittsburgh. King understands route concepts and can break on the ball with good ball skills (14 interceptions and 24 pass breakups over the last three years), complementing his coverage skills with sure tackling (only 11 misses on 198 attempts in three years).

King, who some major media draft analysts view as best fitting in the NFL as a safety, is listed ahead of the combine at 5’10”, 206-pounds. In the 53 games that he played in at Iowa he registered 263 total tackles in addition to 14 interceptions and 33 total pass breakups.

Here is what Lance Zierlein of had to say about King, who he compares to New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byrd, in his pre combine draft profile:

Lack of size and speed combined with his ball skills, instincts, and competitiveness all point to a transition to safety. While he can improve as a tackler, he’s got the toughness and mentality to take on run-support duties. Can cover in man when asked and has the ball-tracking skills and anticipation that should allow him to thrive in two-deep and single-high situations. A likely second-day (Rounds 2-3) selection and could be targeted as a zone corner or a safety with early starting potential.

While King is indeed one of the top-rated defensive back draft prospects in this year’s draft, you have to wonder if he’s indeed best-suited to play safety at the NFL level as opposed to cornerback. While the Steelers could indeed use another safety to groom to eventual take over for Mike Mitchell, taking King in the first round seems a bit of a reach as we sit here ahead of the scouting combine.

King will obviously be a player to watch closely when he’s in Indianapolis and you can bet one of us will be profiling him on the site in the coming days. In the meantime, below is a King highlight video for you to watch.

  • falconsaftey43

    I like him in as a slot CB/S. Not sold on him in the 1st because he does look a little slow. I do believe he is a guy that could come in and play day 1.

  • pcantidote

    He should feel comfortable in our uniforms.

  • budabar


  • PaeperCup

    I can very much see this being the pick. I don’t care for it much, but just enough of a reach to be a Steelers pick.

    I think we was pegged as a first rounder last year, but had a dropoff in production this year. Going the wrong way buddy.

  • Bradys_Dad

    It’ll come down to who’s still on the board at the end of Rd 2. He’s not Rd 1 worthy IMHO.

  • Ben Saluri

    I’ve watched him in person several times. He will not “wow” you in any one aspect of his game, but does bring value as a return man. He has been coached up and could be close to his ceiling.

  • RickM

    Based on Zierlein’s review, I’m not sure the guy is going to show enough speed to attract Tomlin.

  • J_Wobble

    I do really like Desmond King and have watched a lot of his games, but I do believe he would be a reach at 30. I think there is a good chance Steelers could pick him up in the second if he post a slow 40 time at the combine which very well could happen. That being said, I would love him at 62

  • capehouse

    Weird. King is the only player in Palazzolo’s mock that I haven’t seen routinely in round 1. Most agree he’s a late 2nd-3rd round pick and probably a Safety. Maybe Steve has something against the Steelers cause this is a strange pick. I like the player but definitely a reach.

  • It’s interesting to see a new name being mocked to the Steelers, but I don’t see it. As others are commenting, maybe if he’s around at the end of the second round, but I can’t see the Steelers going for a guy who’s on the slow side and isn’t much more than a zone CB with safety potential — just too much uncertainty/risk there.

    If it’s not edge rusher in the first, I can definitely see them going CB, but it’ll be for a better man-cover guy who can ultimately replace Cockrell or for a slot guy who can challenge Golson and Gay. At the very least, it’ll be a true CB, not the sort of hybrid King appears to be.

  • Spencer Krick

    Oof, not at 30.

  • pittsburghjoe

    No! second round, maybe. Not in the first!

  • WreckIess

    Not in the first. Last offseason when Desmond King to Pittsburgh was popular early on I was with it, but now that we actually have a developing secondary I don’t see the need to pick a corner early unless the value is unreal.

  • LucasY59

    Its PFF, so yeah…

  • LucasY59

    I think what he does at the combine will drop him out of any 1st rd consideration (not supposed to time well)

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If we take a CB in the 1st, it better be someone who can play, you know, corner.

  • falconsaftey43

    I think the only reason S is being thrown out there for King is speed concerns (and he’s a good tackler). I don’t think he’d have any problem playing the slot, but probably best in more of a zone. Combine likely really important for his stock.

  • Disqussant

    I don’t know if it’s the music, the highlight reel, the black & gold, finally seeing a decent return in b&g, or being sentimental from being overseas, but I would draft him tomorrow right now.

  • Big Joe

    Nah. Not a Rd 1 guy either as a CB or as a S prospect. More like Rd 2-3.

  • George Hareras

    He’s defense, so naturally Tomlin won’t put him as a returner

  • Aaron Dickerson

    Nope, if EDGE isn’t next to the guys name, I don’t want to hear about him for pick 30

  • Joey

    Agree on the first round point…

    A few other mocks have him going anywhere from rds 2-4

  • SouthernSteel

    Dulac won’t like this Seen mocks with him top 20 pick and love it! So other top defenders fall to us…Only CB we take at 30 will be a shutdown outside corner..maybe 3 or 4 in this draft available but all should be gone by 30.just don’t see any relistic scenario were we get this guy

  • Ike Evans

    Des king is easily a first round pick…..easily