Kevin King is the King of the NFC North

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Kendall Wright
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Kendall Wright /
CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 12: Kendall Wright
CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 12: Kendall Wright /

Rookie safety Kevin King heard his name called by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. But he proved throughout his rookie season that he is second to none

Former Washington Husky safety Kevin King was readying for the 2017 NFL Combine just one short year ago. In that year, three defensive backs from the Washington Football team aimed at the 2017 NFL Draft: safety Budda Baker, cornerback Sidney Jones IV, and cornerback Kevin King.  Budda Baker My, what a difference a year makes.

Budda Baker, in his rookie season, earned the role as an NFL starting safety. Not only that, but as a rookie he rose among the ranks to become an All-Pro safety in the NFL.  Meanwhile, former teammates Jones and defensive tackle Elijah Qualls landed with the Philadelphia Eagles. As fates would have it, they found themselves on a team which celebrated a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52.  In the process, both earned their first Super Bowl Championship ring.

Hard hitting cornerback

And he has earned the reputation as a hard hitting cornerback who relishes any opportunity to deliver a significant hit.  So much so that he started five games for the Packers. At a height of 6-foot-3 and enough speed to stay in the back pockets of receivers, King was a welcome addition to the Packers’ pass defense.

But hard hitting can wear down the hitter as well as the hittee. As a matter of fact, it caused the former Washington cornerback to play  with a shoulder brace, fall to inactive status for two of his last three games, and get shut down for the season on December 6, 2017.

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Injured since Washington

In an article discussing King’s injury, Brian Jones of 247Sports indicated that the shoulder bothered Kings since his playing days at the University of Washington.  A second article from ESPN’s Rob Demovsky goes into the injury with further detail. In his article, Demovsky cites the injury originally began in King’s freshman season as a labrum tear to his left shoulder. Shoulder surgery ensued and seemed to correct the matter. But it became aggravated again as a senior and he simply played through it.

That shoulder injury plagued King in training camp and throughout the season. The fact that King managed to earn five starts despite injury illustrates his upside when fully healthy.  Even with injury, King emerged early from training camp as a potential starter.  And when the season began, he found himself starting in five of nine games. As soon as he was shut down for the season, King flew to Florida for the operation by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews.  As a result, both player and team anticipate a full recovery.

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Now with a new 2018 NFL Draft facing the Packers, many fans hope for the team to select a similar style cornerback to King and lockdown their pass defense for years to come. But try as they might, there is only one King in the NFC North. That’s Kevin King. And he’s likely to turn some heads in his second season, fully healed and ready to go.