Desmond King displays better-than-normal-play speed for the strong safety position. While King does a nice job of staying on top of the receiver he will occasionally let the receiver beat him by a step in press man.
This is due to the fact that he does not have perfect body control on the turn in trail technique do to a little hip tightness. On tape King looks better on the turn when he is playing off the receiver as oppose to pressing the receiver at the line. Off man coverage allows King the time to turn his hips and get in better position to run with the receiver down the field in coverage.
King has some good toughness to his game. He is consistently willing to stick his nose in a pile and seems not to mind contact at all. He also returns punts and kicks so you know he is not afraid of contact.
King shows on tape to have good hands for the interception and fielding kicks in special teams. He did muff a punt verses Nebraska, but he was able to jump on the ball quickly.
King plays with the confidence needed for a defensive back. Although, you can tell on tape that he is more confident in the run game than coverage. You would like to see a little more diagnosis from him in zone coverage and during his back pedal in off man coverage.
King does however display an intense desire to compete. He is always in pursuit of the ball carrier and is looking to hit the home run in the return game. He is a good aggressive competitor and it shows on tape.
The one area I would question King about is if he is a student of the game and how much time he spent preparing for his opponent in the film room each week. While he did show on tape to be able to pick up his responsibility on crossing routes and when defending bunch formations, in man coverage you would like to see a little more anticipation from him.
King also showed the ability on tape to be a great tackler. He does a good job of wrapping up ball carriers at the waist or by the leg. He had an outstanding tackle that saved a touchdown against Penn State where he lost his balance and still made the play on the quarterback down the sideline.
However, King can not be considered a calculated risk taker. Maybe in 2015, but not so much in 2016 and as you know football is a what have you done lately sport. Developing the student of the game quality will help King in this aspect of his game.
I really feel like it would benefit both King and the team that drafts him to allow him to convert to strong safety. Everything from his play demeanor, body type, and physical traits on tape scream play maker from the safety position. Especially in today’s pass happy NFL, He could easily develop into a starting strong safety once he becomes comfortable with the deep angles in coverage from the safety spot.