No recent draft pick of the Green Bay Packers has been scrutinized and nitpicked more than Kevin King.
A lot of the noise hasn’t been King’s fault either. In 2017, then-general manager Ted Thompson famously could have selected Wisconsin native and star T.J. Watt but he ended up trading out of the first round before selecting King in the second.
What followed was unrelenting criticism at Thompson for foregoing Watt and selecting a player that battled numerous injuries his first two seasons. As the Packers continued to fail to mount a pass rush, even as Brian Gutekunst replaced Thompson, the cries from many fans continued to increase in volume. King played in 15 games combined his first two seasons while Watt continued to climb the ranks of pass rushers.
As the 2019 season comes to a close, the Packers have now found their way to have their cake and eat it too.
King has remained generally healthy all season (missing only one game) and leads the team with five interceptions. Gutekunst meanwhile added Za’Darius and Preston Smith in the offseason to suddenly give Green Bay a two-headed pass rush. While Watt is in the conversation for defensive player of the year, so too must Za’Darius Smith.
King has of course also looked sloppy at points this year and given he only had 15 games under his belt prior to this year, he’s really only in his second year of his career despite being in the league for three. He’s also shown flashes of behind a solid corner next to Jaire Alexander and suddenly the Packers might be set at pass rusher AND in the secondary.
To make it simple, King plus the two Smiths is greater than (or at the very least equal to) one Watt.
Math always wins. Even if it takes a few years.
Now here are today’s curds.
King wrote before the season that he wanted “five-plus” interceptions this year. Mission accomplished and his fifth couldn’t have come at a better time as it served as the turning point in Monday night’s victory.
With at least a first round bye and possibly home field advantage on the line, don’t count on the Packers getting complacent against a Lions team that has all but shut down for the season.
It might already be Thursday but we can’t help but continue to look back at that NFC North clinching victory on Monday night.
The Packers enjoyed a lot of great moments and great wins this decade. It’s probably no surprise what ranks first but how about the rest?
There are still six days left in 2019 and that’s plenty enough time for more idiocy to make it into the headlines, but some of these stories are guaranteed for a least a chuckle or two.