One year after Penn State Football cornerback Joey Porter Jr. barely missed breaking Penn State’s first round defensive back curse, Kalen King will give Penn State another opportunity to break the curse in 2024.
In the 2023 NFL draft, Porter Jr. became the highest Nittany Lion selected in the NFL draft at number 32 overall, in the first pick in the second round, breaking Jaquan Brisker’s previous record from the 2022 draft of pick 48 in the second round.
Prior to the 2022 draft, the record for Penn State’s highest drafted defensive back dated all the way back to 1958 with Les Walters being selected by the Baltimore Colts also 48th overall in 1958, which was a fourth-round pick at the time.
Overall, throughout Penn State’s long history, Lions defensive backs have only been selected four times in the second-round, six times in the third-round, and six times in the fourth-round.
For a school with 40 total first round picks, it is odd that Penn State has never produced a first-round pick at defensive back.
Penn State Football has produced 10 first-round running backs, seven first-round defensive linemen, and six first-round linebackers. While many thought Porter Jr. would break Penn State’s curse, Penn State may not need to wait long before the curse is actually broken.
Why Kalen King can Go in Round 1
In the latest 2024 NFL draft prospect rankings by CBS Sports, Penn State cornerback Kalen King is listed as the number 23 overall prospect, the fourth overall cornerback prospect.
With a first-round grade, King has the chance to become the first defensive back from Penn State selected in the first-round in the Nittany Lions rich history.
King could also give Penn State a third first-round pick in this draft, joining likely first round picks Chop Robinson and Olu Fashanu. The 2024 draft could be the third year in which Penn State produces at least three first-round picks in the same draft, joining the 1995 draft (Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins, Kyle Brady) and 2003 draft (Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Haynes, Bryant Johnson, Larry Johnson).
King will be the first Penn State junior to play in the upcoming Senior Bowl before going through the NFL combine and pro day process. Although King is listed among the top 30 draft prospects in CBS Sports’ rankings, none of the CBS analysts have King going in the first round of the 2024 mock drafts updated this week.