In the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chargers selected Jim Thorpe Award winner Desmond King from the University of Iowa.
King had one of the most prolific seasons by a corner in 2015 en route to earning unanimous and consensus All-America honors. During that season King garnered the Jack Tatum Award, presented by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, to the best defensive back in college football, the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year, Most Valuable Player on defense, and the Reggie Roby Special Teams Award. During the 2015 campaign, the Detroit, Mich., native recorded 72 tackles, including 46 solo stops and 26 assists, eight interceptions for 118 yards and one touchdown. He led the team with 13 pass break-ups. King also handled majority of punt kickoff returns, averaging 14.2 yards on 17 punt returns and 24.4 yards on 29 kickoff returns.
He followed that season by being named first-team All-America by USA Today, SI.com, Pro Football Focus, Athlon Sports, and College Sports Madness,
second team All-America by Walter Camp Foundation, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Phil Steele, and SB Nation. Recorded 42 solo tackles and 16 assists, with 3.5 tackles for loss in 2016. He shared team lead with three interceptions and ranked second with seven pass break-ups. King also averaged 10.2 yards on 26 punt returns and 27.8 yards on 27 KO returns. Capped his career by being the only Big Ten player in last 20 seasons with 12 or more career interceptions and over 1,500 combined kickoff and punt return yards. King is also one of two players in school history with three interception returns for touchdowns.
Established Michigan high school record with 29 career interceptions at East English Village High School. King set the school record for career rushing yards. Was an African American Studies major and member of prep Honor Roll and Principal’s List.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Fifth-round pick by Chargers (151st overall), April 29, 2017...signed four-year contract, May 11.
2017: Appeared in all 16 games, starting four of them as the nickel CB...Registered 71 tackles (61 solo), including four sacks and six tackles for loss…Posted a 90-yard pick-six on his first INT of his career…With four sacks, tied Rodney Harrison (1997, ‘98) for the second-most sacks by a defensive back in a single season in Chargers history…His four sacks tied for second among all NFL defensive backs and are the most by a rookie defensive back in team history...Part of a defensive unit that ranked tied for fifth in the NFL with 43 sacks…Was one of five defenders in 2017 (Carlos Dunlap, Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan and John Simon) to post a pick-six and three-plus sacks…Broke up six passes, including one that resulted in an INT by S Adrian Phillips…Member of a defensive backfield that allowed just one 100-yard receiver in 2017, joining Arizona, Jacksonville and Minnesota as the only teams to do so…Part of the only secondary to not allow more than 245 gross passing yards in a game during the first seven weeks of the season…Posted seven special teams tackles on kickoff coverage, pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line once…Registered 17 kickoff returns for 353 yards (20.8 avg.) and a two-yard punt return…Awards: Pro Football Journal Second-Team All-Pro…Pro Football Journal Second-Team All-Rookie...at Denver (Sept. 11): Made his NFL debut, appearing on three defensive snaps and nine special teams plays...Broke up a pass from QB Trevor Siemian intended for WR Bennie Fowler that ended up being intercepted by S Adrian Phillips...vs. Miami (Sept. 17): Started first game of his career as the nickel CB, playing 56 defensive snaps as well as 13 on special teams...Registered five tackles (four solo), including a tackle for loss...Dropped WR Jarvis Landry for a seven-yard loss on an end-around run in the first quarter…Added a special teams tackle on kickoff coverage…Returned a kickoff 17 yards...vs. Kansas City (Sept. 24): Started as the nickel CB, seeing action on 33 defensive snaps and seven on special teams...Posted three solo tackles and a tackle for loss…Returned three kickoffs for 67 yards (21.3 avg.)...vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 1): Registered three solo tackles and a pass defensed...Appeared on 62 defensive plays and one on special teams…at New York Giants (Oct. 8): Saw action on 48 defensive snaps and 12 on special teams…Totaled two tackles (one solo) and two kick returns for 37 yards (18.5 avg.)…at Oakland (Oct. 15): Made four solo tackles…Appeared on 38 plays on defense and 11 on special teams…Posted a 20-yard kick return…vs. Denver (Oct. 22): Registered a then-career-high five solo tackles, seeing action on 47 defensive plays and 12 on special teams…at New England (Oct. 29): Started the third game of his career as the nickel CB, finishing with four solo tackles, the first sack of his career, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed…Broke up a third down pass at the end of the first half from QB Tom Brady intended for WR Danny Amendola in the middle of the field to force a New England field goal…In the third quarter, sacked Brady for zero yards, registering the first sack of his career…Added a special teams tackle on kickoff coverage…Played 58 defensive snaps and eight on special teams…at Jacksonville (Nov. 12): Posted five solo tackles, including a sack…Chased down QB Blake Bortles for a zero-yard sack in the third quarter…Added a special teams tackle on kickoff coverage…Played 47 defensive snaps and 19 on special teams…vs. Buffalo (Nov. 19): Appeared on 49 defensive plays and 18 on special teams…Posted two solo tackles, a pass defensed and a special teams tackle…Returned a kickoff for 16 yards and a punt for two yards…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Registered three solo tackles, a 90-yard pick-six on his first INT of his career and two special teams tackles on kickoff coverage…Jumped in front of a fourth quarter pass from QB Dak Prescott intended for WR Cole Beasley in the left flat and returned it 90 yards for a TD…Became the fifth player of 2017 (Carlos Dunlap, Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan and John Simon) to post a pick-six and multiple sacks on the year…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Posted a then-career-high six solo tackles, including two tackles for loss and a five-yard sack…Came off the edge untouched past T Shon Coleman to bring down QB DeShone Kizer for his third sack of the season, which tied Martin Bayless (1990) for the fifth-most sacks by a defensive back in a single season in Chargers history…Returned three kickoffs for 82 yards (27.3 avg.), including a career-long, 44-yard return…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Started as the nickel CB, setting a career high with 10 tackles (seven solo) while adding a six-yard sack, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed…His sack tied Rodney Harrison (1997, ’98) for the second-most sacks by a defensive back in a single season in Chargers history…Broke up a pass from QB Kirk Cousins to TE Vernon Davis by putting his helmet on the football as Davis tried to corral the pass…On third down in the third quarter, sprinted untouched by T Trent Williams before spinning Cousins to the ground for the sack…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Registered five tackles (four solo) on 61 defensive snaps…Played 13 snaps on special teams, adding a tackle in the third phase on kickoff coverage…at New York Jets (Dec. 24): Surpassed 60 career tackles, posting five tackles (three solo) while seeing action on 39 plays on defense and 14 on special teams…vs. Oakland (Dec. 31): Finished with nine tackles (seven solo), totaling 36 defensive snaps and 12 on special teams.
COLLEGE: 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner...Unanimous and consensus All-American in 2015... only Big Ten player in last 20 seasons with 12 or more career interceptions and over 1,500 combined kickoff and punt return yards...named first-team All-America by USA Today, SI.com, Pro Football Focus, Athlon Sports, and College Sports Madness, second team All-America by Walter Camp Foundation, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Phil Steele, and SB Nation in 2016.
PERSONAL: Earned first-team all-state honors his senior and junior seasons at East English Village High in Detroit...established Michigan high school record with 29 career interceptions...set school career rushing yards record...African American Studies major.