Name: Desmond King
Position fit: Cornerback, best in zone coverage, or safety
Stats to know: Allowed just 24 receptions for 271 yards and one touchdown in 2016.
What he does best:
- At his best in zone coverage, understands his positioning and responsibilities.
- NFL passer rating allowed dropped over each of the past three years, from 59.6 in 2014, to 48.6 in 2015, to 42.3 in 2016.
- Great ball skills. Had 14 interceptions and 24 pass breakups over the past three seasons, including eight interceptions in 2015 alone.
- Plays the run better than any other cornerback in this draft class, registering 11 tackles resulting in a defensive stop in that regard this past season.
- Solid tackler, missed just 11 of the 176 solo tackles he attempted over the past three seasons.
- Reads screens, to both wide receivers and running backs, really well. Comes up to make tackles for short gains and losses.
- Long speed is a legitimate concern. Was beaten deep on occasion and didn't run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis at the scouting combine so as yet we don't have a timed speed on him.
- Susceptible to being beaten on double moves. Saw it on film, and East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones had a highlight rep against him at the Senior Bowl where he left him for dust on a double move for a touchdown.
- Much better in zone than man. Looks much more comfortable with the play in front of him than when he has to turn and run. Completed lost the ball on a 19-yard touchdown against Penn State for that reason.
- At 5-feet-10 he might not be short, but he is shorter than he was listed at Iowa.
Player comparison: Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans
Like Ryan, King is a smart tackler who excels when the play is in front of him. King has missed a tackle once every 16.0 attempted over the past three years in college, while Ryan missed one every 20.3 attempted since arriving in the NFL.
Bottom line: King is an awkward player to place in the NFL. On one hand, he looks like a top-tier corner when in zone coverage, breaking on balls and laying big hits on opposing receivers. When he's asked to cover man-to-man downfield though, the flaws in his game are evident. That's probably a big part of the reason why NFL teams reportedly view him as a safety at the next level, but in the right scheme he can be a very good cornerback in the NFL. More so than many other cornerbacks in this class, it's going to be really important where King lands on draft day when it comes to determining his success.