Prior to the 2022 season, the Chargers spent big money on cornerback J.C. Jackson to come in and reinforce their secondary with a number one cover corner who could lead the group. Less than a season and a half into this tenure as a Charger, Jackson is no longer in Los Angeles after being shipped back to the Patriots for a swap of late-round draft picks.
Despite getting rid of what some deemed to have been a negative presence in the locker room and on the field, the Chargers pass defense as continued to be the worst in the NFL. Entering Week Eight, they’re in last place with an average of 310.0 yards allowed through the air. That’s almost 40 more yards than the next closest team (Jaguars).
So in a new mock draft by ESPN’s Jordan Reid, he has the Chargers picking 17th overall and selecting Penn State cornerback Kalen King.
“After trading J.C. Jackson to the Pats, the Chargers lack depth at outside corner — especially since Michael Davis is set to be a free agent in the spring. King is an active and quick-footed corner, and since the Chargers play man coverage on 49.8% of defensive snaps (10th-highest percentage), his aggression in press could help Los Angeles. His ball skills also stand out; King hasn’t picked off a pass yet this season, but he had three interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 2022.”
Through his first two seasons for the Nittany Lions, King totaled 51 tackles, four tackles for loss, three interceptions, and 23 pass breakups. The 5’11, 197-pounder hasn’t seen the same type of production thus far in 2023 as he’s managed just 17 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one pass breakup.
Most recently, he tried going toe-to-toe with Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. and he was unfortunately on the very wrong side of the duel. However, you could say that about any cornerback who lines up against the future top-3 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Now halfway through the college season, King still has plenty of time to show out the rest of the year to further increase his draft stock before next April. If not, other names like Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean and Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton could potentially be available when the Bolts are on the board next year.