Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue looking at prospects in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draftfrom a decidedly Cowboys point of view. Taking the Cowboys current personnel, draft position, scheme, and needs into consideration; defensive line, linebacker, defensive backs, as well as complementary offensive pieces at tight end and right tackle, we hope to profile the majority of the potential prospects that could realistically end up as Cowboys within the first two rounds. Once all of the “official visits” leak we’ll add prospects that are possibilities in the later rounds.
Today’s Prospect - (Reported pre-draft visitor)
#20 - Kevin King - Cornerback - Washington - 6-3, 200
Games Watched: USC, Colorado, Alabama, Arizona St.
Pros: Rare height/weight/speed combination with excellent length, you could say that he actually exceeds the physical profile of today’s cornerback prototype. Very comfortable mirroring receivers out of press position and in press/bail technique, also has the speed and athleticism to carry receivers across the field. Uses his size and length to crowd receivers towards the sideline, using it as an extra defender. Good feel in zone for when to come off an initial receiver and press up to make a play. Excellent ball skills at the catch point with good awareness to get his head turned and locate the ball. Flips his hips smoothly when mirroring receivers downfield out of press position, although in space his change of direction is stiff. Not a great tackler but he is willing to stick his nose in a pile. Played both right and left outside cornerback. Very good body control at the catch point when going for the interception or deflection. Dominated at the Combine with the best 20-yard shuttle, 3-cone, and 60-yard shuttle among cornerbacks, and the second best vertical jump. Fits the press/Cover-3 cornerback role perfectly.
Cons: Jam could stand to improve and get stronger, although generally speaking it was effective due to his size/length. Physical receivers can get him off balance and he could be susceptible to getting “boxed out” against bigger NFL receivers. Feet don’t shift gears and take time to transition, likely due to having to gather himself to change directions due to his long legs. Footwork can get choppy at times due to taking extra steps to gather himself. Must get stronger overall, currently lacks bulk but his frame looks like he could add weight without sacrificing athleticism. Lacks physicality as a tackler as he usually dives at the ankles of ball carriers and doesn’t show a willingness to attack their core/wrap up. Doesn’t fight off blocks particularly well. Doesn’t project to the slot at all due to lack of change of direction/fluidity in space.
Conclusion: King is solidly in the conversation for the title of “second best cornerback in the class after Marshon Lattimore”. His lack of bulk and physicality are causes for concern but there is no doubting his truly rare physical traits and the fact that he has a knack for making acrobatic plays on the ball. In a vacuum, he would be a very solid pick at 28, but the only thing that gives me pause is the depth at cornerback in the first two rounds this year.
Ask five people who the second or third best corners are in this class and you’re likely to get five different answers. Even more so, some people might have a guy like Marlon Humphrey down at sixth or seventh best, with a guy like Gareon Conley second or third, while others may have the exact opposite. What I’m getting at here is that there isn’t much separation (in my mind at least) between the second best corner and the fifth best, between the fourth best and the seventh best.
So would you rather pick someone like King at 28, or trade down to about 35-45 and get someone like Chidobe Awuzie, Tre’Davious White, or Adoree Jackson along with an extra third-round pick if the opportunity presents itself?
Of course that opportunity doesn’t always exist, at which point you have to make the best pick where you are with what’s available. I could easily see King, who seems to fit the Cowboys scheme like a glove, being the best available choice at 28. Even with that said, there’s nothing wrong with hoping to squeeze a little more value out of the pick considering how strong the top 7 or 8 cornerbacks are this year.
I do not have access to coach’s film or anything of that nature, I just watch plenty of football (television broadcast version) and go off what I see out of a prospect.
Special thanks to DraftBreakdown for posting the videos that help provide a more in-depth look at this year’s prospects.