GREEN BAY – Kevin King came to Philadelphia to get his hat and wasn’t leaving without it.
While it didn’t happen during the first day of the NFL Draft, the University of Washington cornerback and his immediate family made the decision to stick it out and see where King would begin his career.
It’s a good thing they did.
King didn’t have to wait long on Day 2, as the Packers used the first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall) to select the 6-foot-3, 200-pound cornerback Friday.
“I came here for a reason. I came here to hear my name called,” said King, who was the only non-drafted prospect who stayed for Day 2. “I wanted my parents, and all my brothers and sisters getting a chance of experiencing all this, walking the red carpet. This was one last thing they needed to experience being in the green room and hearing the call, and me walking out there and getting my hat.
“I wasn’t leaving here without a hat.”
Instead of heading back home to Oakland, King said he went to his hotel Friday night, threw on his headphones and ran on the treadmill for an hour to relax.
The Packers, who traded out of the first round Thursday, contemplated another trade, but determined King was too good to pass on after conducting a formal visit with him at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
King was an ultra-productive defensive back during his four years at Washington, playing throughout the Huskies’ defense. A cornerback his entire life, King started 12 games at safety in 2014 before transitioning to the slot during his junior year and finally moving to the boundary this past year.
In his final two seasons at Washington, King recorded 83 tackles, 23 deflections and five interceptions at cornerback to get on the radar of NFL teams. This past year, the Huskies often would line up King on one side and Sidney Jones – who was taken 10 picks later at No. 43 by the Eagles – on the other.
While King’s size jumps off the page, his athleticism and ability to bend sold the Packers on his talent. One of the Packers’ primary goals for this year’s draft was to add more speed and King certainly fits the bill.
He ran in the 4.4s in the 40-yard dash at the combine, and led all cornerbacks in both the short shuttle and three-cone drill.
“I think it’s always good to add guys with size,” Packers director-football operations Eliot Wolf said. “That’s something we’re cognizant of. With (King), the unique thing is his ability to bend for such a tall guy. Sometimes taller guys show a little bit of stiffness. We didn’t see that. We actually saw that as a strength for him.”
Wolf said he doesn’t recall having a cornerback as tall as King in Green Bay’s secondary, though the current group certainly doesn’t lack for size with LaDarius Gunter (6-2) and Davon House (6-0).
The Packers believe King is strong enough to win in press-man situations and expect him to compete right way with a group that returns three third-year cornerbacks – Gunter, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.
“That’s why you don’t see a lot of 6-3 guys at my position because you have a lot of shifty guys, guys who can stop on a dime and for some reason their hips don’t move like that,” King said. “It’s a blessing to be able to move like that at my size. I’m just trying to use it to my advantage.”
King said he’s excited to get to Green Bay and start learning the scheme. While he knows he’ll need to work for a spot in the secondary, King believes his positional versatility should help hasten his transition into the Packers’ 3-4 scheme.
A lifelong Raiders fan, King playfully admitted he changed his allegiances after the Packers ended his long wait Friday and made his childhood dream come true.
“I’m a Packer fan now,” said King with a laugh. “I’m a cheesehead now.”
2017 DRAFT TRACKER