Ever since the Packers selected Kenny Clark in the first round of the 2016, the spotlight has been on him to justify his selection. Draft picks at the end of the first round, like Clark at 27, are seen as ‘fit’ selections, ones that help playoff teams remain in contention but do not necessarily add that position’s top remaining talent.
In 2016, Green Bay was in its normal period of success fans had come to expect, so picking at the end of the first round was not seen as a disadvantage. With the team having Mike Daniels coming into his own but losing B.J. Raji to eventual retirement, the team, the team was looking to find another mauler in the trenches.
Insert Kenny Clark.
While his development may have been a bit on the slow side for some cheese heads, Clark has blossomed into a steal at the end of the first round for the team. He has helped take pressure off Daniels inside and now will be teaming up with free agent signee Muhammad Wilkerson to form one of the better defensive lines in the league.
So who can make the same leap that Clark made going into his second season? There are a few candidates that stand to make a name for themselves in 2018, none more than Kevin King.
Any Packer fan knows that the depth at cornerback was the hot-button topic of the offseason. There has been additions of four higher profile players to the team, two new and two returning veterans.
Bringing back Tramon Williams and Davon House are both under the radar moves, with Williams having the potential to start even with going into his 12th season. House is seen more as a depth piece that could become a camp casualty.
Drafting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the first and second round, respectively, pushed the youth movement to the front of the line in the DB room.
But what about King? The team used its first selection last draft, which was near the beginning of the second round after a trade with the Browns, to help shore up the defensive backfield.
While King’s true potential was never fully realized due to a season-ending shoulder injury, what he did show was good ball skills and a set of physicality the GB defense was lacking.
While the additions of Alexander, House, Jackson and Williams make the film room that much more crowded, King has the leg up on the others due to being with he team last year. An underrated aspect of being lost for the year was that he was able to gain a grasp of the game from the sideline and in the film room, hopefully giving the second-year pro from Washington a leg up in OTAs and beyond.
Even with Williams, Jackson and Alexander being looked to to help solidify the defensive schemes under Mike Pettine, King has the opportunity to take over one of the base defense corner spots, and should. Look for King to make a play for one of the outside corner positions throughout minicamp and preseason pla, and provided he remains healthy, should be out on the field for Green Bay’s first defensive snap in September.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23