When everything is said and done and Mr. Irrelevant comes off the board in April, you can almost guarantee that Iowa defensive end Mitch King will have done all he can to get selected by an NFL team and as early on in the draft as possible.
It seems highly unlikely that he will go undrafted — Scout.com has him rated lower than most at 228th overall and 19th at his position — but he could go anywhere from the late second round to the early seventh round depending on how things shake out for him.
King rushes the passer in the Outback Bowl
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
The issue is certainly not college production, as King posted 228 tackles (an incredible number for a defensive lineman), 53 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, and six forced fumbles in 49 games with the Hawkeyes.
In the Senior Bowl, he led North defensive linemen in tackles with four and was one of only two players for the North to record a quarterback hurry, as the South's offensive line dominated most of the game.
His dedication and attitude are not in question, as scouts have praised his motor and fundamentals throughout the regular season and he was named as one of the standout players in practices at the Senior Bowl.
However, the issue with King is that he is a man without a position. At a shade over 6-feet-1, he's too short to be a conventional end in the 4-3. At 275 pounds, he's too light to be a defensive tackle in most 4-3 defenses and too light and not tall enough to be an end in a 3-4.
With those measurables, he's actually too heavy to be an end in the Dungy/Meeks defense, though that certainly is going to change, we just don't know how severely yet. And he's probably not quick enough off the ball or good enough at using his hands to move inside to tackle right away, even if it is at the under tackle position.
Indianapolis certainly rewards production, dedication, and attitude, though, which is why they spoke to King while they were in Mobile.
Although nothing can be done about how tall he is and very little can be done between now and the end of April about how much he weighs, King still controls his own destiny and can go a long way towards improving his draft rankings in the eyes of scouts.
Trevor Laws improved his draft stock in the offseason last year, Derrick Landri did it the year before, and Tony Brown and Jason Jones of the Titans proved that it is unwise to pigeonhole someone based solely on their height and weight.
King already impressed in practices and in the game during Senior Bowl week and is already starting to see his stock improve. Strong workout numbers at the Combine and his Pro Day will start to cement that improved stock in the eyes of scouts that are kicking themselves for overlooking players like Landri, Jones, and Brown.
At this point, he has nowhere to go but up. The Colts should hope, though, that he does poorly in position drills and posts subpar workout numbers in the next three months. They already trust what they've seen on tape and on the field, so they will pull the trigger on this young man if he is available in the fourth or fifth round.
While he compares favorably to Landri, Jones, Brown, and Laws, he also compares favorably to players like Raheem Brock, Keyunta Dawson and Montae Reagor, players that have been valued contributors for Indianapolis all along the defensive front, depending on the situation.
But, as valuable as Reagor and Dawson were/are to the Colts, part of their value is that they were able to be had in the later rounds. If King does too well from now until the end of April, he'll be too high on too many boards and will be gone before Indianapolis would spend a selection on him. They can only hope that enough teams ignore what they see on the field for what they see on the scales or the 40-time postings.
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