Just because the Pittsburgh Steelers cut down to their initial 53-man roster doesn't mean they were done making roster moves. From the aggressiveness we have seen from Omar Khan in his first full year as general manager, we should have expected nothing less.
Less than 24 hours after making his final 17 roster moves in order to be compliant before the NFL deadline, Khan elected to sign veteran cornerback Desmond King, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports.
Despite everything the Steelers have done during free agency and the NFL Draft during the 2023 offseason, they still appeared to have one big weakness at slot cornerback. Now they may have found their man who will fit perfectly in this defense.
King was a former First-Team All-Pro with the Chargers as a cornerback and return specialist. The veteran spent the past two years with the Houston Texans where he earned 5 interceptions and recorded over 1,800 total defensive snaps.
After a bit of a down year in 2021 in which he surrendered 752 yards and 5 touchdowns, King bounced back with a strong performance in 2022. According to Pro Football Reference, King allowed just 365 yards and 2 touchdowns in 17 games (13 starts) in 2022.
Adding to his bounce-back performance, King graded out as the 20th-best cornerback in the NFL last year, via Pro Football Focus. It's also noteworthy that of his 918 defensive snaps last year, King carved out a significant 334 snaps from the slot.
Steelers are getting the depth they have been looking for in the slot
Desmond King may not be an All-Pro caliber player at this stage of his career, but it's important to note that he is still just 28 years old and he has been able to play 33 of 34 games over the past two years for the Texans.
Thanks to loads of experience covering from the slot, King could be just what the doctor ordered for Pittsburgh ahead of the 2023 season. King is now expected to run ahead of Chandon Sullivan and Elijah Riley as the team's primary slot cornerback, and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be required to make a corresponding roster move (which means they could cut a DB).
King also has experience at safety as he has been a versatile chess piece in the secondary. On paper, this looks like another excellent addition to the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2023 offseason. We will have to wait and see how this turns out.