Dallas Cowboys: Desmond King Could Fit In Defensive Backfield
The Dallas Cowboys need to continue to work on their defense before the 2017 season begins and Desmond King might be an answer in the NFL Draft.
The Dallas Cowboys had three cornerbacks graded in the Top 50 of the Pro Football Focus cornerback rankings. But with free agency, career production and other aspects of their game front and center, it is time for the Cowboys to add to the cornerback position via the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.
A player the team should take a close look as a fit to the defensive backfield roster is Iowa cornerback Desmond King, a projected first- to second-round selection. King is 5-10, 206 pounds and has graded well at various aspects of his game. ESPN Insider notes the now-graduated King as having “exceptional ball skills” and “above average instincts/recognition.”
How productive can King be in the NFL as he being projected in the first or second round? Against Wisconsin this season, he made 12 tackles (seven solo). The week before he put up those numbers, King caught his first interception of the season against Purdue. His final collegiate game came in the Outback Bowl against Florida, totaling five tackles and catching his third and final interception of the season.
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For his final year at Iowa, King totaled 58 tackles (42 solo), with 3.5 of those tackles being for a loss. King was also responsible for three interceptions, one for a touchdown, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 13 games.
One noticeable issue with King this past collegiate season was his interception numbers were down, with the aforementioned three in 2016. But in 2015 as a junior, he made eight interceptions, earning him the Jim Thorpe Award.
In an article on BaltimoreRavens.com, Ryan Mink quoted Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta on what type of player King is:
“He’s a very smart player, he’s got very good eyes,” DeCosta said. “He’s not probably as tall as you would like, but he’s a physical tackler. He’s got great ball skills, he’s got a history of interceptions. He’s a really fine player.”
On the issue of his height, the Cowboys had five cornerbacks on their roster with just one being 6-0 or taller (Brandon Carr) in 2016. The others were either 5-10 or 5-11, so the Cowboys most likely wouldn’t have an issue with the height of King since they employed four cornerbacks his height this past season.
The one issue for the Cowboys if they were to select King in the 2017 NFL Draft is the fact he might be more suitable to playing at safety in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Cowboys seem to be happy at that position with Byron Jones, though Barry Church at the other safety spot is a free agent.
Church has played parts of seven seasons, all with the Cowboys, including 2016 where he played in 12 regular-season games. In those outings, Church totaled 85 tackles (61 solo) with one forced fumble and two interceptions. Church will be 29 years old to start the season, so if the Cowboys do re-sign him, King could still fit into the plans of the Cowboys, because it wouldn’t hurt them to have a long-time veteran on the roster to help Jones continue his NFL progression at safety and help bring along a rookie like King during his first NFL season.
King, who left some questions about his game following the Senior Bowl, would be a great addition at the safety or cornerback spot for the Cowboys as he does have underrated speed, which is always a plus for NFL teams. King is versatile for the defensive backfield and though he might not be the greatest athlete, he is described by CBS NFL Draft Expert Rob Rang as a player who “already looks the part of an NFL standout, and is an instinctive, passionate defender with agility.”
If the Cowboys were to add a player like King to their defensive backfield, it would help the overall pass rush and help the defense get off the field faster with fewer third down conversions against them. That leads to the Cowboys offense being on the field more, which is what is needed for the Cowboys to take the next couple steps to have an even more improved season than the one had this past year.