D’Eriq King signing with New England provides ideal opportunity

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Miami quarterback D’Eriq King signing with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent provides him with the opportunity to have his strengths utilized. D’Eriq King compares to former New England wide receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in the 2009 NFL Draft.

After being a QB at Kent State, the 5’10 Edelman converted to WR with New England. King was far more accomplished in college than Edelman. With Houston and Miami, King completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 8,378 yards, 76 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in college while running for 2,055 yards and 32 TDs.

D’Eriq King spent the first two seasons of his college career at Houston as a kick returner and WR. A dangerous player whenever he touched the ball, King had 58 receptions for 492 yards and three TDs as a receiver and added 11 kickoff returns for 260 yards that included a 99-yard touchdown.

Edelman retired after the 2020 season with 620 receptions for 6,822 yards, 77 TDs and 1,986 career punt return yards with four touchdowns and 626 yards on kickoff returns. Edelman completed all six of his career pass attempts for 128 yards and one TD. These numbers do not include the playoffs.

King could be used similarly to how the New Orleans Saints use Taysom Hill. Hill entered the NFL as a QB, but has been used by New Orleans as a passer, receiver, returner and runner. The difference is that Hill, is 6’2, 221 pounds. King is listed at 5’11, but is closer to 5’9 and weighs 194 pounds.

King is not the power runner that Hill is. A torn ACL suffered in the Cheez-It Bowl in 2020 and a season-ending shoulder injury last season has to raise questions about the durability for King. The athleticism King possesses and his ability in the open field is what will provide him a chance to succeed in the NFL.

The CBS Sports scouting report says of King “his playmaking ability in space is what NFL teams are intrigued by, whether that’s as a runner, receiver or returner.” King is mostly criticized for his size at QB. The likelihood is that King is used by New England as a utility player. King as a 25-year-old rookie is also criticized.

Going to the Patriots is the ideal situation for King. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick puts his players in a position to succeed better than anyone in NFL history. King will have to compete with WR Tyquan Thornton who NE drafted from Baylor in round two and QB Bailey Zappe from Western Kentucky in the fourth round.

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New England lacked playmakers last season. Leading receiver Jakobi Meyers averaged 10.4 yards per reception. Damien Harris was the Patriots’ leading rusher with 929 yards. King makes plays in open space. The Miami offense was elite with King at QB in 2020. That athleticism should help King succeed with New England.