There’s really no one person Kevin King has to blame for the position he was put in during his rookie year. But he has every right to metaphorically be furious with “The Man.”
The Packers rookie cornerback played all season with a bum shoulder. To his credit though, King never shied away from contact nor did he use the situation as an excuse. The Man, however, put Kevin King in an unwinnable situation.
Coming out of the University of Washington, King was quickly shuffled into the semi-odious draft prospect circuit of pro days, combines, and workouts. He could have (should have?) instead used that time to get himself and his shoulder right. But the irony of the situation that many NFL prospects face is that they can either bow out of the offseason schedule of allowing grown men to ogle over their body type, 40-time, and hip flexibility and risk decreasing their draft stock (i.e.: money), or they can suck it up and plow through it and risk a decrease in future health and on-field production. Kevin King decided to plow through it. And not being allowed the luxury of time to fix an injured shoulder produced a situation where plowing through the season just wasn’t sustainable. Nor was it prudent for either the team or King. Which is why his season never really seemed to get going (and ultimately ended with him going on injured reserve after nine games).
If one were to assign Kevin King’s first season in a Packers uniform a grade, it would be difficult not to give it an “Incomplete.” For all the reasons stated above, it’s hard to really have a grasp on what the Packers have in the young corner. That said, King showed enough potential to have people excited about his future.
King played in all of the Packers first nine games but was held out after that until placed on I.R. following Green Bay’s Week 13 win over Tampa Bay. In his nine games, King was credited with 21 tackles (while assisting on six more) and five passes defended. Additionally, there are advanced metrics that suggest King is well on his way to a promising career, but we’re still dealing with a dangerously small sample size with him. So buyer beware.
All in all, the Packers almost certainly have no regrets about acquiring King with the 33rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Especially when you consider the context: Green Bay held the number 29 pick in the first round but dealt it to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns used it to take tight end David Njoku, who’s promising in his own right but was a mild disappointment in his rookie campaign. As an added kicker, Green Bay also picked up an extra fourth rounder from Cleveland, which they used to take Wisconsin’s own Vince Biegel.
In Kevin King and Josh Jones, the Packers would seemingly have two high-quality defensive backs on their roster at below-market value for a few more years. However, you only have to go back to 2015 for the last time Green Bay used their first two draft picks on DBs, and if it worked out according to plan then it probably wouldn’t have been necessary to do the same in 2017.