2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Desmond King

  • Desmond King, 5-10/206

  • Cornerback

  • Iowa

  • Desmond King Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Excellent instincts
  • Not a gambler
  • Superb in zone coverage
  • Dangerous threat to produce interceptions
  • Good tackler
  • Willing run defender
  • Open-field tackling skills
  • Gritty defender
  • Competitor
  • Could be an overachiever
  • Special teams contributor
  • Dangerous returner
  • Very experienced
  • Should be able to contribute quickly

  • Weaknesses:
  • May have to move to safety
  • Lacks speed
  • Struggles with fast receivers
  • Gives up separation to deep receivers
  • Could struggle to run the route and prevent separation
  • Athletic limitations
  • Not very twitchy
  • Lacks height
  • Lacks length

  • Summary: King was one of the most consistent and best defensive backs in college football over the past few seasons. Starting in his freshman season, he made an impact for Iowa before turning into one of the best defensive backs in the nation.

    King notched 69 tackles with eight passes batted in 2013, and went on to improve as a sophomore with 64 tackles with five breakups and three interceptions. King was one of the breakout players in 2015 as he displayed tremendous ball skills with eight interceptions and 13 passes broken up. He also made 72 tackles to go along with productive returns on kicks and punts. That season earned King the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back.

    As a senior, King recorded 58 tackles with seven passes broken up, three interceptions and one forced fumble, plus some more impact on kick and punt returns. Many teams avoided throwing his direction as he was reliable in coverage and a threat to pick the ball off. He did, however, show some speed issues that have big implications for his NFL future.

    There is no doubt that King is an instinctive corner with excellent ball skills. He is a gritty player who does a superb job of playing the ball with the ability to fight for pass breakups, plus he has soft hands to pick off passes. King is very good in zone coverage with his instincts and gets himself in good position. For the NFL, playing in a zone scheme would be his best fit if he remains at corner.

    WalterFootball.com knows teams who think that King should move to safety in the NFL. The reason for that is he lacks speed, so running with NFL wideouts and preventing separation could be a problem. A good example of that came in his college finale as he really struggled with Florida’s speedy wide receiver Antonio Callaway. Callaway could beat King downfield as he wasn’t fast enough to run with him.

    King could be a nice fit at safety because the man-coverage speed issue would be disguised. That would allow him to use his instincts to make plays, but he could be an asset in zone. King also is a very good tackler in run support, so that makes him a fit for safety. He has a nice build, but he lacks height and length, so moving to safety also would help to make that less of an issue.

    The debate about King’s position fit could have an impact on his draft stock. After his strong college career though, King could easily get selected on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he shouldn’t fall out of the mid-rounds.

    Player Comparison: Alterraun Verner. Verner is a tough corner who has good ball skills and instincts. Like King, Verner has some speed and athletic limitations. However, he used his strengths to carve out a quality career with some good seasons. I could see King being an NFL player comparable to Verner if he remains at corner.

    NFL Matches: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Tennessee, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, Kansas City, Dallas, Cleveland, Chicago, New York Jets, New Orleans and Buffalo

    There are a lot of potential fits for King in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. To start the second day, the Browns could consider a cornerback with their multiple picks in Round 2 and to lead off the third round. Cleveland has Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor, but all good defenses have three corners. King could be a fit for Gregg Williams as well.

    The Colts need another corner to pair with Vontae Davis. Philadelphia needs some cornerback upgrades. King could be in play for these teams in the second or third round.

    The Ravens could use a corner upgrade to go with Jimmy Smith. The Lions could use a corner to pair with Darius Slay. Miami could consider adding a corner upgrade to pair with Xavien Howard.

    The Raiders need some cornerback upgrades after having coverage problems during the 2016 season. Staying in the AFC West, Kansas City could use a corner upgrade across from Marcus Peters. Dallas could also consider upgrading its cornerback talent. King could be a good fit for when Rod Marinelli wants to play Tampa 2.

    Cornerback is a need for the 49ers and Bears. Either team could select King early in the second round. New Orleans definitely needs cornerback help, too. Buffalo could lose Stephon Gilmore in free agency, and King could be in play for the Bills.

    The Titans need cornerback help, but without a second-round pick, King would probably only end up in Tennessee if he slipped to Round 3.


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