In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Penn State Nittany Lions saw Joey Porter Jr. go 32nd overall. In the 2024 NFL Draft, could Penn State CB Kalen King go even higher? King doesn’t have Porter’s elite length, but he’s a prolific playmaker in his own right, whose scouting report generates appeal in different ways.
Kalen King Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 190 pounds
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Penn State
- Current Year: Junior
While Porter Jr. was embarking on his statement 2022 season and attracting all of the 2023 NFL Draft hype, King was silently putting together an even better season on the other side.
People take for granted just how dominant Penn State’s 2022 CB group was. Porter Jr.’s presence alone dissuaded QBs from targeting him, but across from him, King racked up three interceptions and 18 deflections when he was tested, and he also added three tackles for loss in support.
A four-star recruit and two-time captain at Cass Tech High School, King was a prized member of Penn State’s 2021 signing class. He made an immediate impact as a true freshman, and he’s now blossomed into the team’s next first-round CB prospect.
Kalen King Scouting Report
- Feisty competitor who doesn’t give WRs an inch in coverage and makes himself felt.
- Fleet-footed, quick-twitch cover man with exceptional corrective quickness and mobility.
- Has the crisp fluidity to turn and run with receivers out of 90-degree transitions.
- Boasts the swivel freedom, sink, and flexibility to adjust his hip leverage without delay.
- Has enough explosiveness and long-track speed to stay in his receiver’s hip pocket.
- Smart zone defender who can carry and pass off routes using identification skills.
- Able to use pedal and throttle fluctuations to manage space while keying in on QB.
- Uses proactive physicality and hip alignment feel to stay overtop route stems in man.
- Can corral and gather WRs outside with synergetic, successive punches and hip turns.
- Patient and disciplined in press-man, using fast, adaptable feet as his technical bedrock.
- Can transition seamlessly between shuffles, chop-steps, and matching footwork.
- Tracks and high-points the ball easily and obstructs with authoritative full extensions.
- Gets his eyes up and has a phenomenal sense of timing and coordination at the catch.
- Surges downhill in support and is an impressively sturdy, reliable tackler for his size.
- Has the versatility to play the slot or the boundary with his strong man-coverage skills.
- Is around average size overall, with lacking frame density and length.
- Lacking length at times limits his disruption radius when trailing receivers vertically.
- Might not have a quantifiably elite physical trait, slightly detracting from his ceiling.
- Non-elite explosiveness can be exposed by superior athletes who are able to stack.
- Occasionally a bit uncontrolled at stems, and wasted motion can tug him upfield.
- Patience can render him a step behind at the line at times, failing to react to releases.
- Sometimes over-reliant on two-hand jams and grabs and can be susceptible to holding.
- At times, lacks the strength to deconstruct blocks quickly and can be directed outside.
Current Draft Projection and Summary
Overall, Kalen King grades out as a top-25 talent and a surefire Round 1 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft on my board.
He’s not quite in contention for CB1 just yet, but he’s one of several CB prospects with a strong presence in the first-round discussion, and his schematic versatility only helps his cause.
MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board
The biggest thing working against King, as it turns out, might be his ceiling evaluation, as opposed to any glaring flaws on the field. At 5’11”, 190 pounds, he’s around average size for a CB, without quantifiably elite athletic traits. He has great speed, explosiveness, and fluidity — but for his size, he’s not in the top 5-10%.
For evaluators, however, it’s dangerous to demote King because of what he can’t be — because what he already is carries plenty of appeal.
Sure, he might not be that WR-erasing size/speed freak like Patrick Surtain Jr. or Christian Gonzalez, but King is still a very good two-phase player with coverage versatility and a tone-setting mentality.
In press-man, King has the fast feet, fluidity, reaction to stimulus, and targeted physicality to exhaust WRs of space. In off-man and zone, he can use his keen eyes, throttle control, and spatial awareness to minimize opportunities. And at the catch point, he’s a natural playmaker with in-built GPS tracking software when seeking the football.
To top it all off, King is extremely physical and tenacious in run support as well, with the block IQ, combativeness, and sure tackling ability to be an asset there as well.
King’s ceiling might not be as high as other CB prospects, but his well-rounded, versatile coverage makeup and his stellar support ability combine to give him one of the most complete profiles in the 2024 NFL Draft CB class — well worth Round 1 capital.
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