May 22, 2024

He traveled a roundabout route through college—three schools in six years, to be exact—and was passed over twice—once during the three-day, seven-round NFL Draft and once more during the pre-draft phase.

However, Beanie Bishop Jr., a former cornerback for West Virginia, has finally found his place and is neither shocked nor just a passenger.

Bishop remarked, “We talked during the pre-draft and all of those things,” regarding his eventual undrafted free agent signing with the Steelers. “I knew there was a potential of me coming here.”

Bishop is aware of the opportunity that exists at nickel cornerback, where the Steelers do not currently have a player.

Bishop insisted, “I can play in that position, and the team needs it.”

It is not a biased assessment.

General Manager Omar Khan said, “I’ll say this, I like the depth we have at the position,” following the draft. Some of the younger guys there have the makings of really terrific nickel corners, and they will compete. I’m a big fan of that band.

“Worthless words cannot express our excitement at being able to sign Beanie Bishop following the draft. He was here for a visit with us. He seemed like a man who could fit in while he was here, and we talked about our defense and how he might fit in.

Bishop, who stands five feet eighteen inches tall and weighs 180 pounds, did not go unnoticed in 2023; in fact, he and Quinyon Mitchell of Toledo were named to the Associated Press All-American Second Team; the first team was made up of Cooper DeJean of Iowa and Kool-Aid McKinstry.

Even though it took some time, Bishop eventually accomplished his college goals during his one and only season at West Virginia. Prior to that, he had spent four years at Western Kentucky and one at Minnesota.

“My only FBS offer came from Western Kentucky right out of high school,” Bishop clarified. “I should go play (in a) Power 5 (conference), one of my coaches advised.” I transferred to a school in Minnesota that dealt with academic matters; several of the institutions there encouraged me to graduate. Had a little bit of a poor year; I didn’t exactly get the output I was hoping for or the production I had the year before.

“Decided I wanted to go to a conference where they passed the ball a lot and would have an opportunity to return kicks and punts, that’s what led me to West Virginia.”

With 24 passes defensed and four interceptions for the Mountaineers, Bishop ended up leading the FBS.

In addition, he recovered two punts and four kickoffs, one of which he ran for a 78-yard touchdown play against North Carolina.

Bishop was invited to the East-West Shrine Game as a result of all of that, but he was not selected for the Senior Bowl or the NFL Scouting Combine.

Bishop said, “It surprised me a little.” “Everyone texted me after the guys I was training with all left, saying, ‘Oh, I’m surprised you didn’t go to the Combine.'” However, that’s just one more piece of coal put to the fire.

“Many of the men I know signed with teams after going undrafted, particularly via the (Steelers’) organization. Mike Hilton did not make the draft. The draft did not choose James Harrison. I kind of look at folks like them and realize I have a really good shot.”

Back in April, Dane Brugler, of The Athletic, ranked Bishop as the 39th-best cornerback available and graded him as a 7th Round-Priority Free Agent.

“Bishop as an explosive athlete with outstanding spatial instincts to trigger and disrupt at the catch point,” Brugler said. “He is more suited for interior nickel work and was occasionally outmatched by the outside big.

“His scrappy mentality carries over to the run game and he gets his man on the ground.”

In the running game, Bishop believes he is more than just a man on the ground.

“I love to tackle and I love to be a physical guy,” he maintained. “I enjoy forcing my will on guys, whether they be quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, or wide receivers. It’s almost like one of my strong points.

“I have a chip on my shoulder whenever I play. It’s only a way of thinking.

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