Rookie cornerback playing catch-up in Packers’ training camp
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — It didn’t take long for the Green Bay Packers’ first draft pick, cornerback Kevin King, to get his shot with the starting defense.
After Green Bay lined up with Davon House and LaDarius Gunter as the cornerbacks and Damarious Randall in the slot for Thursday’s first day of training camp, the coaches switched things up on Friday, with House and King as the cornerbacks and Quinten Rollins in the slot.
“I’m not too sure what the coaches have planned,” King said after practice. “I just come to work and do what I’m told. Today, they put me out with the 1s. Tomorrow, they might put me with the 2s.”
Still, it was a noteworthy decision by the coaches to thrust King into the heart of the competition. With class in session at the University of Washington, King was forced to miss all three weeks of organized team activities. Because he missed the OTAs, the coaches limited King to only individual drills for the three-day minicamp in June.
Thus, King’s first reps against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s high-powered offense had to wait until this week.
“I have a lot to learn, definitely,” he said. “I think I’m on the right track. I’ve just got to keep it going.”
Physically, King is the total package. At 6-foot-3 and with a time of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, King has a remarkable blend of size and speed.
House, a free agent, and King, the first pick of the second round of the draft, were the big additions to try to fix a leaky secondary. Green Bay finished 31st in the NFL in pass defense. It reached the NFC championship game, where the Packers gave up 392 passing yards and five total touchdowns to Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan in a 44-21 rout by the Falcons.
“He’s long. I think he’s going to be a really good player for us just watching the first couple of days,” receiver Randall Cobb said. “He moves really well. He’s very fluid. He does a great job staying on top on receivers in certain coverages. It depends on what they’re playing, but I’m very interested and intrigued to see how he continues to mature and grow as a player.”
The competition at cornerback will get more heated on Saturday morning with the first padded practice of training camp.
“Pads, it brings out the competition in everybody,” King said. “It’s going to be a lot of popping out there. I’m excited. That’s football. That’s what everybody came here to do.”
NOTES: Four players missed practice, including CB Herb Waters. He injured a shoulder during Thursday’s practice, the same injury that sidelined him for the minicamp. . TE Martellus Bennett dropped out of practices briefly but returned to catch a touchdown pass in a two-minute drill. . WR Randall Cobb, who hasn’t been the full-time punt returner since his second year in the league in 2012, has taken reps at that spot in both practices. “Punt return has always been a part of who I am as a player,” he said. “That’s always been something I wanted to do. I asked about that last year, the year before. I’m going to continue to ask about that.”