2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kalen King

  • Kalen King, 5-11/191
  • Cornerback
  • Penn State

Kalen King Scouting Report

By Charlie Campbell


  • Good instincts
  • Tough
  • Willing tackler
  • Physical defender
  • Good route recognition


  • Average skill set
  • Not fast; lacks speed
  • Lacks twitch
  • Lacks athletic ability
  • Lacks long speed; struggles to to run with speed receivers

Prospect Summary:

For every NFL draft, there are some prospects who are very challenging evaluations. King is one of those players this year because was tremendous in 2022 and then had a bad season in 2023. As a result, it is difficult to project what an NFL team will be getting with King. In this instance, one has to lean more toward the most recent season of college tape.

Joey Porter Jr. had a ton of hype entering and during the 2022 season. While Porter played well that season, King was the big playmaker for the Penn State defense. That was in part from offenses avoiding Porter and throwing at King. On the year, King totaled 30 tackles with three interceptions, 21 passes broken up and one forced fumble. He was tremendous that season, but was equally bad a year later. In 2023, King notched 29 tackles, zero interceptions and only two passes defended.

In 2022, King was superb. The first trait that jumped out about him was his instincts. With fabulous anticipation, King got himself in position to make big plays and disrupt completions. He showed good vision to read the eyes of the quarterback with impressive feel and route recognition. Using his instincts to guide him, King stayed in position and was able to fly to the ball thanks to good diagnosis skills.

However in 2023, King gave up too many plays. His skill-set limitations were apparent, as his lack of speed and explosion led to receivers generating separation. Taking on Ohio State’s future NFL receivers, King looked like a backup considering they were the kind of wideouts he will see on a weekly basis at the pro level. King’s overall athletic ability looked like backup caliber in 2023 with a concerning lack of explosion, twitch, and speed.

While King is not the biggest of cornerbacks, he is physical and tough. He plays bigger than his listed numbers and is a willing tackler. King has enough strength to battle receivers and does an impressive job of outfighting wideouts for position. King is a gritty dog who will fight hard. His ball skills were outstanding in 2022, but they completely disappeared in 2023.

For the NFL, King looks like a backup corner. He would fit best in a zone-based offense, and he is not a good fit for playing off-man coverage as a pro. King is a tough and instinctive player, so perhaps he can return to his 2022 form and end up becoming a starter.

Prospect Comparison:

Amani Oruwariye. King is like a smaller version of Oruwariye. Oruwariye had a big 2021 season in terms of ball production, but he has struggled with giving up separation in other years in his career. Oruwariye was a fifth-round pick, and King could be a mid-rounder in the 2024 NFL Draft.


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