How much should we expect?
I think King is an immediate starter for the Packers. A guy with his size and speed didn’t get picked to be “developed”. That said, the Packers have first and second round picks invested in Randall and Rollins. The pick of King may be seen as a mea culpa on Ted’s own former picks but with King’s size and speed, I don’t think so. I think King is just that good of a player. King will need to absorb Dom Capers’ sophisticated scheme and I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t some hiccups early on but this is a guy that is an immediate upgrade. King can play press/man and with his speed can cover in zone as well. He will need to work on zone recognition and at times he is a little slow locating the ball in the air but those are coachable traits. King will benefit greatly not only from having Davon House in the meeting room, but also the offseason program will be a great time for him to hone his craft. I look for King to be a fixture in Green Bay for a long time.
One caveat…while the Packers in general and Mike McCarthy specifically have talked a lot about how important versatility is, I look at King and see the opposite. I like the idea of King developing as an outside corner and honing that craft and that alone. Conversely, Josh Jones is a guy who can be versatile (we will talk about him very soon). With King developing in a single spot, the Packers have the freedom to bring that versatility in other areas. I think King’s contribution is as a possible replacement for Shields.
How does he help?
Well, the immediate response is he is help. The Packers’ defensive backfield was a mess last season and some of that was due to the continual injury situation. If King stays healthy, he could very well find himself facing starting NFL wide receivers right away for the Packers. That is more than help, that is a replacement for Sam Shields. Remember, the trouble with the Packers’ backfield began when Shields went down and was unable to return. If there ever was a replacement/upgrade for Shields, King is it. How he deals with the pressure will be key.
But as Mike McCarthy said this week, every defensive coordinator in the league would like to play press/man coverage, get in the faces of wide receivers, and get them off their timing patterns (see the issues with the Packers’ passing game a couple years ago). Kevin King is that guy if there was one in this year’s draft. At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, King has the stock to go against the elite receivers even moreso than Shields was able to do. So Dom Capers may have a guy that can take on number ones on a regular basis, in which case the pressure is lessened for the other aspects of the scheme. It is (could be rather) a luxury that the Packers have not had for awhile. And if King reaches his potential, he could enhance not only the coverage, but also the pressure packages that the Packers use on defense.
I will be watching the pre-season closely to see how King develops. If he comes along and absorbs the scheme, I think he has the potential to bring King’s Island to Green Bay.
Cornerbacks in the Packers’ system are asked to do a lot. That will be the same of King but in his case, locking down one side of the field or one player will be his greatest contribution. It is asking a lot to think he can do that right off the bat, but eventually, that is what this kid promises and I couldn’t be happier.