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Packers' Kevin King Ready to Tackle Family Night

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Packers' Kevin King Ready to Tackle Family Night

So far, it would seem as if the Packers are welcoming second-round pick Kevin King into the locker room with open arms.

If "open arms" meant throwing him into the fire against arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and his wide receiver counterpart.

The 6'3" King was selected as the team's first draft pick back in April with the notion that he would be in the starting lineup by the start of the regular season. After finishing his semester at Washington and missing OTAs, he was locked and loaded coming into training camp.

First, it was Davon House and LaDarius Gunter starting on the perimeter—that was until Gunter battled through a tough start to camp. That was when the Packers began implementing a variety of starting cornerback combos. At that point, the excessive, yet, paramount studying that King reportedly did during his time between school and the start of camp was put into action. Something cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. noted as vital to his learning process.

Over the last week, coaches have been testing King, including having Aaron Rodgers pick on him during practice. King gave up three straight completions while attempting to cover Jordy Nelson, the third of which being a back-shoulder touchdown. The Rodgers-to-Nelson connection, which has accounted for a team record 59 touchdowns, is nearly indefensible against some All-Pro cornerbacks, let alone a young King.

It's a challenge, and definitely not the first time King will be pinpointed during practice, but he doesn't let it impact his morale.

"When you get to see where you are going up against the best guys—great quarterback and a great receiver—that's a sticky situation," King said before the Packers' second night practice on Friday night. "I'm just trying to get better."

Any cornerback can improve on his craft when two of the best there are continuously testing his abilities. What it comes down to is whether or not King can improve each time the Packers decide to do so.

Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Tweeted a photo of King and receiver Davante Adams walking side-by-side. It's that kind of interaction, regardless of the side of the ball, that will help King pick up fragments of helpful strategies to add to his repertoire.

"The guys are great, anytime I come to them," King said. "They've been against the best guys, they've been against the best corners; the types of guys that I emulate my game after. The type of players whose success is what I'm trying to reach. They know themselves, they know what can get them. Little tidbits are what I'm trying to pick up from those guys as well as just trying to hone in on my technique."

After sitting out Thursday's practice, King was good to go for Friday. Now, he prepares for the Packers' annual Family Night for which he'll be practicing in a live scrimmage in front of 78,000 fans. It wouldn't be bizarre for a rookie such as King to have even the slightest of jitters for the event, however, that's not the case.

If it weren't for how he would look in front of the fans who buy his jersey, one would think the size of the crowd would psyche King out. 

He isn't fazed.

"I know what type of fanbase we have here in Green Bay. I'm excited, I'm ready to go out there and have some fun with the fans... Everybody was talking about it, but I've heard about how it's been the last few years and I think it's exciting. I'm ready for it; I'm ready to go have some fun."

King is the front-runner to start opposite of House, whereas either Damarious Randall or Quinten Rollins will play the "star" position in the slot. There's over a month left until the Packers open the regular season against the Seahawks, so the starting cornerbacks are all but set in stone.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (4) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

flackcatcher's picture

No Zach, King is not the front runner to start on the outside, well not right away. If he makes progress, learns his technique. then at some point during the mid season he gets his shot. With the very short TC and CBA, getting a rookie to start a skill position on a super bowl contender is risky. Seeing that Rollins has been the Packers best CB in this camp, King starting, maybe, but doubt it. Now playing heavy minutes, could be, but with the depth at safety and a heavy safety plus defense bound for the Packers base defense. Well, we'll see. Good article Zach.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

He is right now, which is something I was wrong about. I predicted House/Gunter with Randall in the slot, but King has been practicing with the first-team defense, indicating he's situated with the starters at the moment. Could change in the preseason.

flackcatcher's picture

I don't disagree. This training camp has been unusual in the lack of injury's.(Herb Waters would beg to differ.) The real key here is the number of safety's kept on the 53. That would impact Kings playing time more than anything else. The compressed TC really hurts rookies like Jones and King. Frankly, unless the CB position gets hit by a wave of injuries, I expect King to be doing spot duty only during the first 4 regular season games. After that, I see his snap count going though the roof. Way to much natural talent and he's football smart to keep off the field.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I'd suggest that the best CBs so far have been House, Rollins, and Randall, in that order. It is hard to say whether Gunter or King has performed better. It is crystal clear that King running with the ones has nothing to do with his performance and everything to do with his draft status and talent (I am okay with that, BTW). One hears the occasional good thing about Pipkens, Pringle, and Hawkins, and a bad thing at times (Pipkens was flagged for PI Saturday night, for eg.).

Still plenty of time for all these guys to make their marks.

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