ESPN Draft Insider Mel Kiper, Jr.
When it comes to the NFL Draft, adding depth is never a bad idea.
In 2016, the Oakland Raiders did just that by retooling the secondary with the addition of safety Karl Joseph, who was selected with the 14th overall pick, and according to ESPN Draft Insider Mel Kiper, Jr., the Silver and Black could possibly take this approach once again in 2017.
Kiper – along with fellow ESPN Insider Todd McShay – released the fourth version of their respective Mock Drafts Wednesday morning listing their picks for the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. While talking with reporters via conference call Wednesday afternoon, Kiper shared his thoughts with Raiders.com about University of Washington cornerback Kevin King, who he has slated to the Raiders at No. 24 overall.
"Oakland, when you think about where they are with their secondary, cornerbacks with that kind of skill set… because a lot of eyes are on King," said Kiper.
Last season, the Raiders signed 6-foot-3 cornerback Sean Smith, and re-signed 6-foot-1 cornerback David Amerson, who totaled a combined 104 tackles, 27 passes defensed, and four interceptions. The addition of King would boost the team's number of sizeable playmakers at the corner position, considering his 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame. Not only does King boast an NFL-ready physique, but he also boasts the skills to be productive at the next level.
"He showed ball skills, he showed awareness, he showed great anticipation," Kiper added. "He would tackle, he's lean, but he's tall, he's long, and he would throw his body around."
King has all the tangibles to be considered a first round pick, one characteristic he possesses – that can't be measured – is his willingness to embrace the spotlight and not shy away from a challenge. King's Washington counterpart Sidney Jones has received a lot of attention for his efforts on the field, but that hasn't affected King's performance over the years.
"He made some key tackles in some games," Kiper said. "So I think he emerged because eyes were on Sidney Jones so much they said, 'Oh look at this guy, he's getting attacked, but he's up to the task,' and then he worked out great."
After finishing his college career with 164 tackles, six interceptions, and two fumble recoveries, King could prove to be a valuable asset in the league. He added to an impressive college résumé by running a 4.43 second 40-yard dash, logging 39.5 inch vertical jump, and bench pressing 11 reps at 225 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.