Will Desmond King switch to safety in the NFL? He's not opposed to it
Take a look at Desmond King and you won’t think “cornerback.”
The former Iowa All-American is 5-10, 206 pounds, with a thick build. He became a household name in college football for his ability to make plays on the ball as a cornerback. Naturally, one would think that’s what he’ll be asked to do in the NFL.
The question could be whether or not he’ll get to do so at his natural position.
If asked, how would he feel about making the switch to safety in the NFL?
“My thoughts on playing the safety at the next level, it’s going to be tough,” King told the Detroit Free Press. “That’s a part of it. But it’s going to be tough at every position, and it gives you a sort of accountability for the defense, whether putting people in different coverages and different positions. So it’s basically going to be on you. You’re like a quarterback in the back end.
“Playing safety is a real good task, and I don’t mind playing it.”
King’s strengths do carry over well to the safety position. His ball-hawking skills helped him earn the Jim Thorpe Award in 2015 after he recorded eight interceptions in Iowa’s Rose Bowl run.
And in case you forgot, King has no problem working downhill and delivering the big hit:
So, uh, Desmond King is pretty good pic.twitter.com/bQHptgkRaz
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 17, 2016
King spent the week in Alabama playing cornerback in front of scouts at the Senior Bowl. Depending on who you ask, King can play both positions at the next level.
His speed was on display all week. King was the fastest player at either Senior Bowl practice on Thursday, registering a top speed of 20.5 MPH (via Catapult Sports).
But there were moments that King’s speed couldn’t save him. On a couple different occasions during the week, King got beat deep:
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) January 26, 2017
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) January 24, 2017
And there were other instances throughout the year — the Penn State game — that made some question if King was a better fit at safety.
King’s childhood friend and former teammate, fellow All-American Jourdan Lewis, isn’t as worried about where the former Iowa star fits in a defense.
“He’s going to be a playmaker,” Lewis said of King to the Free Press. “He’s going to get that ball. He’s a ball hawk. He’s always been a ball hawk. Even in high school he had 10 picks a season. I think he leads the state in picks, of all time, I think, probably for the record. Definitely he’s going to be a playmaker wherever he goes. He’s going to make a difference immediately.”
King is projected to go off the board in the first two days. Pro Football Focus even has him tabbed as a first-rounder.
If he had it his way, King said that he would get drafted by his childhood team, the Detroit Lions. It doesn’t matter what position he plays, either.
Whoever winds up with King will get one of the B1G’s best defensive playmakers of the last decade.