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Could Kelvin Joseph be a DB diamond in the rough for the Steelers?

For teams who are looking for a cornerback in the 2021 NFL Draft, Kelvin Joseph might be a prospect to keep an eye on.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Kentucky Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many NFL organizations who could be looking at a cornerback in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. However, unlike the other franchises who are looking to add to their defensive back depth chart, the Steelers possess the 24th overall pick.

Not really conducive to getting a top tier prospect, but after players like Patrick Surtain, there are a lot of talented defensive backs who could be available to the Steelers at pick No. 24, or after.

There is the chance the Steelers choose to take a cornerback to bolster their depth at the position in 2021, and if Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph is available when the Steelers pick in the middle rounds, is he an option for the team? Or would Joseph be just another mid-round cornerback selection we’ve all seen so many times?

I did some digging on Joseph, and put together a brief synopsis of the kind of player he is, and will be when becoming a professional. Below you’ll see draft profile breakdowns, film room breakdowns and game film for you to enjoy.

Don’t listen to me, or anyone else, form your own opinion on Joseph. I plan on doing this for other prospects as the draft approaches. If there is a specific player you’d like to see covered, simply let me know and I’ll be glad to put it together!

Let us know your thoughts on Joseph in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

Draft Profiles

The Draft Network

Kelvin Joseph is a long perimeter cornerback prospect who should have the opportunity to develop into a starting outside option for a team. Joseph, who was an early entree into the 2021 NFL Draft, has the kind of length that is very popular right now in the NFL game and has been exposed to a number of different roles throughout the course of his career. He was charged with periodically following Florida TE Kyle Pitts but also has played deep third coverage against some of the more prominent offenses on the Wildcats’ schedule—including Alabama. Joseph enjoyed a fruitful season at Kentucky and found the football on a number of occasions, illustrating down-the-field ball skills and effective contesting ability at the catch point. A former LSU Tiger, Joseph has about as slim of a resume as you can get; he played nine games for the Wildcats in 2020 after sitting out the 2019 season on account of transferring in from LSU and will take his talent to the pro game with just 20 total games played at the college level. Because of his inexperience, expect sporadic results in coverage and inconsistent recognition skills until he’s able to allocate more reps and increase his route combination awareness and add more polish to his technique. I wouldn’t endorse an early role, but the three-year projection looks much more favorable than the one-year forecast in 2021.

Ideal Role: Developmental starting outside cornerback.

Scheme Fit: C-3 or Quarters coverage frequency in zone. Can play press-man coverage for more aggressive defenses as well.

Orlando Sentinel

  • Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
  • Weight: 197 pounds
  • Arms length: 31.875 inches
  • Hands length: 9.25 inches

Defensive back Kelvin Joseph only played one season for Kentucky after transferring from LSU. During Joseph’s lone season as a Wildcat in 2020, he recorded 25 tackles and four interceptions in nine starts before opting out of the final two games.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein compares Joseph to NFL cornerback Maurice Canady.

“Joseph has physical dimensions and natural athletic talent that are easy to get excited about, but his lack of experience might be a secondary concern to the lack of maturity that is sometimes shown on the field,” Zierlein wrote. “He has the length and strength to re-route and bully the early stages of the release from press and displays a sudden twitch to attack throws if asked to play an off coverage.”

Fan Nation


Joseph arrived at Kentucky as a transfer after playing in 11 games as a true freshman at LSU. After sitting out 2019 due to the NCAA transfer rules, Joseph burst onto the scene in his one year starting at Kentucky in 2020. Active feet in press coverage that move with excellent quickness on a lateral plane to mirror the release of the wide receiver. Impressive movement skills away from the line of scrimmage when watching him flip his hips on vertical routes to get back in phase. Noticeable burst out of his breaks when driving downhill on the ball whether he is in zone or man coverage. Displays beautiful ball skills that teams will covet to go along with his impressive length at the catch point. Lacks twitch in the short to intermediate area of the field playing away from the line of scrimmage. Inconsistent in his route recognition leads him to be susceptible to double moves and blown coverages, showing his inexperience up to this point in his career. A late Day 2 cornerback prospect who has room to grow into a top-tier starting cornerback as he develops with more playing experience.

Breakdowns / Highlights

Game Film

Other Breakdowns