May 25, 2024

Packers rookie CB driven by slip down draft board

There were many who thought Kalen King would become a first-round cornerback based on his play in 2022 for Penn State. Instead, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL Draft.

What happened to King? It’s tough to say.

He was a third-team All-American in 2022 after notching 17 pass breakups, three interceptions and 30 tackles. All that productivity fell off a cliff in 2023, though. His pass break-ups went from nearly 20 to just two. He was also beaten pretty handily by wideout Marvin Harrison Jr., the No. 4 pick in the draft, when PSU and Ohio State matched up last season.

All that plus a slow 40 time (4.61 seconds) and a sub-part Senior Bowl led to King falling down draft boards last week.

From potential first-rounder to one of the last picks in the NFL Draft, though?

“I feel like this whole experience definitely was one of the toughest things I’ve mentally had to endure in my life, but I felt like today was a blessing and curse,” King recently told the media regarding his draft day slide (h/t PackersWire). Even though I didn’t get drafted where I wanted to, I felt like God made the right choice for me. Every decision and everything happens for a reason. I feel like I’m in a place where I’m supposed to be and I’m happy I got my named called.”

Though draft day didn’t go how King would have liked, it’s worth noting that from here on out the Detroit, Mich., native does have the opportunity to write a new story. He may be a seventh-round pick, but he’s still an NFL player.

“Just because I got picked towards the end of the seventh round this year doesn’t mean that’s the player I am. That’s just where I was slotted to be. Going to go into the NFL, my career really starts now,” King said.

It’s also worth noting that Green Bay took a flier on King for a reason.

“He’s got a really nice skill set,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said of King in a news conference. “Has played some high-level football at Penn State. He’s got some versatility to play outside and to play nickel as well. And again, I think his best football is ahead of him as well,”

Ultimately, the now former Penn State cornerback has two options: He can let his seventh-round selection make him, or he can let it break him.

Based on his comments, expect him to pursue the former.

“It’s extremely motivating,” said King about his fall. “Not going where you thought you would go, seeing all the names being picked ahead of you, just enduring all that, seeing that and I felt like it put a chip on my shoulder, a permanent chip on my shoulder that I gotta keep there.

“I felt like the Packers are going to get one of the most competitive guys in the country, a tough corner, physical corner who’s going to give 100% effort around the field at all times and make as many plays as I possibly can by doing it at 100 percent.”