Desmond King was a four-year starter for the Iowa Hawkeyes, which is a rarity these days especially when you take into account that players of his talent usually leave college early. He is a do-it-all ballhawk, who is a big asset to the return game as well. His best season (junior season) came in 2015 when he won the Jim Thorpe Award, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and All-American honors. He finished 2nd in the FBS with eight interceptions to go along with 72 tackles and 13 pass break ups. His senior year stats weren’t as impressive(3 ints & 7 pass break ups), but that was mostly due to teams entirely avoiding throwing his way. He is tremendous in coverage as he is obsessed with getting the takeaway (14 ints in college & 29 in high school).
His ability to read and create unique angles on throws are top notch, and he rarely gets beat. It’s rare to find a corner who will aggressively come up and make plays against the run the way he does. No fear in sticking his nose in there and making the stop. He has a stocky frame and plays with a physicality and determination. Also, has great value as a kick and punt returner. He averaged 26+ yards on kick returns and 11+ on punt returns.
The biggest knock on King is his size. At 5’10” 201 lbs, he isn’t that tall, rangy corner a lot of teams covet. Depending on how the Chargers feel about him, they could move him inside to cover the slot or even potentially move him to safety. I think he gives them a number of different options in the secondary. I don’t see him being a liability on the outside, and he can play that spot effectively. If they decide to use him to cover the slot, he will give receivers a tough time getting clean releases off the line and down the field, due to the physicality he plays with.
Another concern is his lack of top end speed. While his speed is not a liability, he does tend to lose to pure speed receivers and doesn’t have the recovery speed you would like. With that said, he has a short memory and gets right back on the horse. To help compensate for this, he will play in favorable matchups and get help as needed. With his aggressive and physical style, he needs to limit his mental mistakes as a pro. In his last two seasons at Iowa, he had 10+ penalties, and five were personal fouls.
His fantasy value will be limited early on as he will play mostly in sub packages. I do see his value increasing as he gets more acclimated to the league. Keep an eye on which position he gets designated, as he will have more value as a safety. For those in redraft, IDP light or non-position specific leagues, he isn’t going to be worth drafting or picking up. However, for those of you who play in deep roster IDP leagues, he is worth spending a late draft pick on. Especially if your league awards points for return yards or for those who play in leagues with taxi squads, where you can stash him while he develops.