CLOSE

Pete Dougherty and Aaron Nagler give their first thoughts after watching the Packers beat the Eagles 24-9 in their preseason opener. (Aug. 10, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE

Earlier this week, an NFL scout took the time to share his thoughts with me about Kevin King’s potential.

The scout hadn’t heard anything about how the Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback was doing early in his first NFL training camp, but it turns out he pretty much knew anyway.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if (King) is trying to feel his way through it, not looking confident and actually not looking good with his play early,” the scout said. “But that will change. Especially when game time comes up. Jordy (Nelson), (Randall) Cobb, they’ll wear his (butt) out and get him ready for the rest of the league.”

That kind of sums up King’s first two weeks of training camp, including his preseason debut Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. With Davon House (hamstring) given Thursday night off, King was in the starting nickel and played the entire first half at Lambeau Field.

RELATED: Brett Hundley shows command in imperfect debut

CAMP INSIDER: Trevor Davis stakes claim to punt-return job

He took his lumps. He was beaten several times in one-on-one coverage, including on a Carson Wentz-to-Mack Hollins 38-yard touchdown on Philadelphia’s first offensive series. Hollins separated from King on a crossing route and then broke the rookie’s tackle attempt on the way to the score. That’s a tough way to start your first NFL game, even if it doesn’t count in the standings.

King also showed the willingness and ability to tackle hard on three short passes completed in front of him. On the final of those, his holding up of tight end Billy Brown allowed Blake Martinez to come in late and force a fumble. One of the knocks on him coming out was his tackling, so maybe he’s better there than advertised.

Two weeks into his first training camp, it’s clear King has plenty of talent. It’s also clear why he was a late-first-round to early-second-round prospect — the Packers took him in the first slot of the second round — rather than higher.

“It’s hard to find 6-3 corners that move that like and have those skills,” the scout said. “The thing is, he’s still extremely raw, you’ve got to know what you’re getting. In an ideal situation you’d want two starting corners and have him as your third guy and get acclimated the first year.”

It’s still tough to tell whether King will be among the Packers’ top three when the regular season begins. That would put him in their nickel, which essentially would make him a starter because it's the defense they play more than any other. If House had played, King wouldn’t have been in that group. The other two starters in the nickel would have been Quinten Rollins on the outside and Damarious Randall in the slot.

Then Randall sustained a concussion Thursday night. If he misses a couple weeks, King will get a chance to play more. Three weeks can be a long time in camp, and it very well might be enough for King to show he should be on the field a lot when the Packers play Seattle in their opener Sept. 10.

But he’s going to have to get better, and fast, for that to happen. He missed most of the offseason work because of the NFL’s nonsensical rule prohibiting practice for players from colleges on the quarters system. That hasn’t helped a player who only moved from safety to cornerback for his final 1½ seasons in college. He was spun around a couple times in coverage Thursday night, a sure sign of what’s going on in his head as well.

Besides the long touchdown, King also allowed Bryce Treggs to get behind him on a 38-yard completion late in the second quarter from backup quarterback Matt McGloin. Those big plays are killers. They can cost games.

But let’s also say, King’s up-and-down start is nothing to get worked up about, either. Sure, the Packers would prefer him to be ready-made, but if he were, a cornerback with his size and ability wouldn’t have been on the board at No. 33, or when they traded back at No. 28. He'd have gone in the top 10 or 15.

“Kevin had some excellent form tackles,” coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. “I’m sure there are going to be some plays he can learn from. I thought he definitely showed up.”

The Packers’ charge is to make sure King is contributing this season, if not for the opener, then soon after.

The Packers’ other second-round pick, Josh Jones, had a less eventful day. He split his time with the No. 2 defense at inside linebacker and safety. He missed one open-field tackle but otherwise looked good in coverage and showed he can handle the more physical play when he lines up near the line of scrimmage.

The Packers also look like they have their punt returner for the season. Trevor Davis showed true breakaway speed on a 68-yard touchdown return in the second quarter, and ripped off 26 yards on his other attempt. He has a gear that Randall Cobb doesn’t.

Safe to say Davis is finally out of the dog house that had been his home since muffing a catch at Tennessee last November.

  • Biggest surprise, takeaways from Packers' roster
    Biggest surprise, takeaways from Packers' roster
  • Aaron Nagler chat: Packers' final cuts
    Aaron Nagler chat: Packers' final cuts
  • Aaron Nagler chat: Early Packers cuts
    Aaron Nagler chat: Early Packers cuts
  • Aaron Nagler chats prior to Packers cut day: Sept. 1
    Aaron Nagler chats prior to Packers cut day: Sept. 1
  • Aaron Nagler wraps up Packers win over Rams
    Aaron Nagler wraps up Packers win over Rams
  • Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 30
    Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 30
  • Buzz of the Day: Ted Thompson cleans up his own OLB mess
    Buzz of the Day: Ted Thompson cleans up his own OLB mess
  • Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 29
    Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 29
  • Packers Camp Snapshot: Rookie running backs
    Packers Camp Snapshot: Rookie running backs
  • Nagler talks depth issues, McCarthy calling himself 'Captain of Hope'
    Nagler talks depth issues, McCarthy calling himself 'Captain of Hope'
  • Position battles to watch during Packers-Rams
    Position battles to watch during Packers-Rams
  • Injury, OLB ineffectiveness drive Brooks visit
    Injury, OLB ineffectiveness drive Brooks visit
  • Recapping Packers-Broncos preseason game
    Recapping Packers-Broncos preseason game
  • Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 24
    Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 24
  • Packers Camp Snapshot: Kyle Murphy
    Packers Camp Snapshot: Kyle Murphy
  • Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 23
    Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 23
  • Bulaga goes down, Murphy steps up
    Bulaga goes down, Murphy steps up
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 22
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 22
  • Packers Camp Snapshot: Jeff Janis
    Packers Camp Snapshot: Jeff Janis
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 21
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 21
  • Packersnews RosterBuilder is back
    Packersnews RosterBuilder is back
  • Packers Camp Snapshot: Brett Hundley
    Packers Camp Snapshot: Brett Hundley
  • Takeaways from the Packers' preseason victory in Washington
    Takeaways from the Packers' preseason victory in Washington
  • Aaron Nagler postgame chat: Aug. 19
    Aaron Nagler postgame chat: Aug. 19
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 17
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 17
  • Takeaways from Packers practice: Aug. 16
    Takeaways from Packers practice: Aug. 16
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 16
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 16
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 15
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 15
  • Takeaways from Tuesday's training camp practice
    Takeaways from Tuesday's training camp practice
  • Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 14
    Aaron Nagler's training camp chat: Aug. 14
  • Hundley shows command, McCaffrey stands out
    Hundley shows command, McCaffrey stands out
  • Takeaways from Packers' win over Eagles
    Takeaways from Packers' win over Eagles
  • Aaron Nagler preseason Week 1 postgame chat
    Aaron Nagler preseason Week 1 postgame chat
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 8, 2017
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 8, 2017
  • Takeaways from Tuesday's practice
    Takeaways from Tuesday's practice
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 7, 2017
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 7, 2017
  • Young Packers get long look at Monday practice
    Young Packers get long look at Monday practice
  • Aaron Nagler Family Night chat: Aug. 5, 2017
    Aaron Nagler Family Night chat: Aug. 5, 2017
  • Takeaways from Packers Family Night
    Takeaways from Packers Family Night
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 4, 2017
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 4, 2017
  • Takeaways from Friday night's training camp practice.
    Takeaways from Friday night's training camp practice.
  • Takeaways from Packers' first night practice
    Takeaways from Packers' first night practice
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 2
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 2
  • Takeaways from Day 5 of Packers training camp
    Takeaways from Day 5 of Packers training camp
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 1
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: Aug. 1
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 31
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 31
  • Takeaways from Day 4 of Packers training camp
    Takeaways from Day 4 of Packers training camp
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 29
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 29
  • Takeaways from Day 3 of Packers training camp
    Takeaways from Day 3 of Packers training camp
  • Packers training camp 2017: Day 2 takeaways
    Packers training camp 2017: Day 2 takeaways
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 28
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 28
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 27
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 27
  • Packers training camp 2017: Day 1 takeaways
    Packers training camp 2017: Day 1 takeaways
  • Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 26
    Aaron Nagler training camp chat: July 26
  • Takeaways from Mike McCarthy's opening press conference
    Takeaways from Mike McCarthy's opening press conference
  • Packers players move into St. Norbert dorms
    Packers players move into St. Norbert dorms
  • Buzz of the Day: Murphy talks Super Bowl
    Buzz of the Day: Murphy talks Super Bowl

 

LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE