Several very good players went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft, especially at two positions: Wide receiver and cornerback, two of the deeper position groups this year. One higher-profile cornerback who slipped and went undrafted this year was Michigan State’s Shakur Brown. The Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms with him late Saturday evening on a three-year deal that included a $25,000 signing bonus. One major media analyst believes the Steelers got a steal in Brown as an undrafted free agent.
Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports indicated during a Tuesday interview on 93.7 The Fan that he had a third-round grade on Brown ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. He essentially indicated that the Steelers may have gotten the steal of the draft this year. Or in Brown’s case, possibly the steal of the undrafted.
The NFL’s official draft website projected Brown as a fourth-round pick this year. Brown, who led the country in interceptions per game with five in seven contests in 2020, was an all-Big Ten selection by conference coaches. He also received fringe All-America status.
He declared for the 2021 NFL Draft as an underclassman earlier in the offseason. Brown had a pick-six and two sacks in 26 career games played in college. Pro Football Focus gave him its highest coverage grade of any cornerback in the Big Ten last season. Brown had 54 total tackles (38 solo), seven interceptions, and two sacks through three seasons with Michigan State.
The Steelers lost slot cornerback Mike Hilton this offseason to the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Steelers did draft a defensive back in Tre Norwood as one their nine total selections this year, expectations are that he’s likely to be viewed more as a safety than a nickel cornerback in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers signed quite a few undrafted cornerbacks after the annual selection process ended on Saturday. Hopefully, one of those players will step up and become the team’s long-term replacement for Hilton. Will Brown be that player? We’ll see.
Our own Alex Kozora profiled Brown on the site Tuesday morning. You can read that breakdown by following the link below.