Desmond King rated top B1G draft prospect on Pro Football Focus big board
Desmond King could’ve left school early and no one would’ve batted an eye.
The Iowa cornerback wouldn’t have been crazy to cash in after winning the Jim Thorpe Award and helping Iowa reach its first Rose Bowl in 25 years.
Instead, he elected to come back to school for his senior season in hopes of making even more noise. The Hawkeyes are out of the B1G title hunt and just hoping to upset Michigan or Nebraska in the final two home games.
But while King didn’t reach the team goals he had in mind, his draft stock might not take a hit at all. In fact, Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo believes King improved his stock in 2016.
He put the senior cornerback ahead of the likes of Jabrill Peppers and Malik McDowell, both of whom are projected as top-15 picks. Palazzolo had King as his top B1G prospect and No. 4 prospect overall on his latest big board.
Why is he so high on King as a draft prospect? Here was his breakdown:
With three years of strong grading, King continues to produce as he excels in zone coverage, where he can read both route concepts and the quarterback. He has a knack for playing the ball, deflecting six passes and intercepting another this season while knocking away 12 to go with eight interceptions last season. King is also one of the best run-stopping cornerbacks in the country, as he always ranks near the top and he’s only missed seven of his 180 tackling attempts over the last three years.
Putting King at No. 4 overall is saying something considering Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay didn’t have King among their top 32 prospects.
King is coming off one of the more frustrating games of his career, but obviously not everyone believes Iowa’s mediocre season will impact his draft stock. As Palazzolo mentioned, King does have 12 pass breakups and few cornerbacks tackle like he does.
So, uh, Desmond King is pretty good pic.twitter.com/bQHptgkRaz
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 17, 2016
In addition to King, Palazzolo ranked five other B1G players on his big board. McDowell came in at No. 10, Jourdan Lewis — King’s childhood pal — was at No. 13, Jabrill Peppers was ranked No. 19, Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk was No. 24 and Pay Elflein was No. 30.
Jake Butt (Michigan), Malik Hooker (Ohio State), Nate Gerry (Nebraska) and Dawuane Smoot (Illinois) were put on Palazzolo’s watch list.