It’s no secret that The Patriots need to improve as an offense. Most believe that Parker was a good start but not enough. So what’s next? With little cap room left and any decent free agent signed, The Patriots need to look into the draft to fill the remaining gap.
Filling the gap will be difficult with so many left on the paper. Hidden late-round gems will be the key. This year’s gem may be fit for a king, D’Eriq King.
D’Eriq King Playing The Field
Finding a place will not be difficult for D’Eriq King. King spent his time in Miami as an undersized yet mobile quarterback. Prior to that, King played at receiver. The 5’11” and 196lb prospect has moved around on the offense for the love of the game.
D’Eriq King posted a respectable 4.69 40 time for a part-time quarterback. Add to that his ability to elude tacklers with cuts in an open field, you should get a five-star top ten prospect. That would be true if that’s all that came with the former All-ACC selection honorable selection. Unfortunately, his overall size has proven to be an issue at quarterback against stout defenses.
There is also a list of injuries that King has amassed over his time in college. A torn meniscus, torn ACL, and shoulder injury do not look good for the 25-year-old rookie hopeful. Being on the older side of the class and without a true position, many scouts are having a hard time grading King regardless of the athleticism when active.
Pro Comp: Julian Edelman
Before you crucify me, think back to the Kent State quarterback that was not invited to the combine for his size. Julian Edelman, like D’Eriq King, made the switch from quarterback to receiver because of his size and ability. Edelman made it known prior to the draft that he would be willing to switch positions just to make a team. That competitive nature is the same in King.
Edleman was drafted in the seventh round in 2009. Originally, he made the team as a return specialist before becoming the cornerstone of the Patriots’ offense. The Patriots looked at him like a wildcat option and a gadget guy through the late selection. With the drive and competitive nature of Edelman, he led the Patriots in receiving through two consecutive seasons prior to retiring.
Like Edelman, D’Eriq King will be a late draft gem. King has experience as a returner, quarterback, and receiver. All elements that drove the Patriots to Edelman in 2009. If King shows the ability to adapt to a fitting role, matching the path of Edelman would be all he could hope for.
Fitting In The Patriots
The Patriots have plenty of experience in converted players. In fact, Jakobi Meyers is also a quarterback converted to a receiver. The Patriots also have the newly added receiver and part-time running back in Ty Montgomery. Using D’Eriq King will not be the issue for the mastermind Bill Belichick.
Off the bat, King could act as a special teams star while he learns the offense. A possible Mathew Slater type if you will. Slater who is lister officially as a wide receiver has played almost his whole carer as a special team stand out.
As King picks up the playbook, he can transition into a full-time slot receiver. Much like Edelman in the past, there are a lot of options here. Think of all the flea-flicker, jet sweep options, and lateral to long ball plays that can be implemented with a second quarterback legally on the field. Not only is king athletic enough to pull this off, but has the game intelligence to read or change into plays on the fly.
The Patriots love the versatility of players. The more a player can do, for a cheaper price has been their motto for years. This later draft pick in King who plays multiple roles will be music to the coaching staff’s ears.
The question is not if D’Eriq King gets into the NFL, but how. Will teams be bold and draft him given his history? I believe he will more likely go undrafted and be signed shortly after. This will most likely result in King starting his career on the practice squad or as a rotational special teams player
Whatever path that D’Eriq King goes down, I believe he will become a name to remember in the future. King has the athleticism and competitive nature to fill any role that he is asked to take on. As we know this is the Patriots’ way. Simply put, King will do his job.
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