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Posts tagged with "King"

The Packers’ best new face so far is the player selected with the 33rd pick in the draft.

Green Bay Press Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers have 21 players on the current 53-man roster who were not on it at the end of last season.

Of those 21, the Packers acquired them as follows:

  • Nine free agent signings
  • Six picks from the 2017 NFL Draft
  • Three undrafted rookies
  • One player claimed on waivers from another team (Chris Odom)
  • One player signed off another team’s practice squad (Ulrick JohnCardinals)
  • One player who spent 2016 on the Packers’ practice squad (Lucas Patrick)

Of those players, however, two stand out among all others as the best newcomers to the Packers’ roster so far in this early season. Those two are the Packers’ top two draft picks, cornerback Kevin King and safety/nitro linebacker Josh Jones.

However, while Jones has been a playmaker in the middle of the defense, playing primarily inside linebacker over the past two games, King’s early emergence as a boundary corner has been critical to the Packers’ success in defending the pass.

For some context, the Packers are currently 5th in passing yards allowed, though their ranking drops to 17th in opponents’ passer rating and they are 15th in pass DVOA. Last season in those three measures, the team ranked 31st, 26th, and 23rd, respectively.

Still, the Packers have faced significant issues at the cornerback position this season, with veteran free agent signing Davon House missing two-plus games with an injury and third-year players Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins effectively being benched over the past two weeks. Not coincidentally, King has stepped into the starting lineup and since doing so he has largely held his own against a few of the premier wide receivers in the NFL.

After Julio Jones was torching the Packers in the early going during their week two game in Atlanta, King entered the game and shadowed him for much of the rest of the game, keeping him largely in check and not allowing a reception into his coverage. King struggled a bit more when asked to shadow the Bengals’ A.J. Green in week three, but played well against a brutally weak Bears’ receiving corps in week four. Furthermore, APC’s Peter Bukowski found this little nugget which, small sample size aside, is certainly notable:

Packers rookie Kevin King has a better passer rating allowed in coverage than Patrick Peterson, Desmond Trufant, and Marcus Peters.

Meanwhile, the players lining up at the other corner spots have rotated heavily. Randall’s struggles led to his benching against the Bears, meaning Josh Hawkins played every snap in the second half last Thursday. Rollins, meanwhile, was removed from the lineup prior to week three’s game, being replaced as the primary slot cornerback by Morgan Burnett.

Of course, Josh Jones has provided some highlight-reel plays, including a pair of sacks in week three and some notable tackles for loss. However, the Packers’ defense would still be able to function without him lining up in the middle — in fact, they did so for much of the first half against Chicago, moving him around and giving him some rest when they lined up with a pair of more conventional inside linebackers.

Remove King from the equation and the Packers would be down to an injured veteran, two benched third-year pros, a second-year undrafted free agent, and an undrafted rookie who has yet to take a snap on defense in a regular season game.

For that reason, Kevin King earns our vote as the Packers’ best newcomer over the first quarter of the 2017 season.

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The Packers’ top draft pick still doesn’t look ready to play in a regular-season game.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers endured their first loss of the preseason, a 20-17 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. As with any exhibition game, the final score means nothing. Coaches care only about new injuries and devouring the film that results from the contest. As always, the staff has plenty of good and poor performances to consider.

Earlier, we covered the players who left the strongest impressions against the Broncos. We continue with those that had the roughest outings in the stock down report.

Kevin King

The Packers figured Kevin King might require some seasoning before contributing meaningfully to the defense when they drafted him. They likely didn’t expect the rookie corner would struggle quite this much come the end of the August. King continues to have lapses, including several egregious blown coverages against Emmanuel Sanders. However, unlike in past weeks, King’s tackling didn’t provide a silver lining Saturday. Despite multiple attempts to take down ball carriers, King managed not to register a single tackle on the night. Plenty of time remains for King to figure out the nuances of the NFL. He certainly has the talent to become a capable player. But right now, Green Bay simply cannot depend on him.

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With a vacuum left by Jalen Collins’ suspension, things are wide open behind Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Brian Poole.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Things seemed pretty straightforward after Jalen Collins was suspended, if obnoxious. C.J. Goodwin would be elevated based on his performance last year and his special teams value, while Deji Olatoye figured to be the fifth corner because of his experience a year ago.

Now? Things are less certain, or at least they feel that way. Goodwin had a better effort in the second preseason game, but still hasn’t run away with the competition just yet. Olatoye has had some struggles, too, while rookie Janor Jones has done some fine work in his first two games, and Akeem King played better and picked up a nice interception against the Steelers. Preseason play only means so much, sure, but it certainly doesn’t feel like the position is settled just yet.

Goodwin and Olatoye are still my favorites for the fourth and fifth cornerback spots, assuming the team keeps that many corners, but I do think King at least has a decent shot of inserting himself into the discussion over the next couple of weeks. In preseason, where there is so much dead time and lousy football to be played, a position battle with additional intrigue matters.

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