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2017 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers give Kevin King his moment at NFL draft

Washington cornerback returns for second round and finally hears his name called

Admittedly, it was a difficult decision for Kevin King. After waiting for hours in Philadelphia in hopes of hearing his name called during the first round of the NFL draft, King left disappointed. If he hadn’t come back, you would have understood. But King didn’t want to go out like that.

He showed up for the second round Friday and quickly had reason to smile after being the first player selected. On the second day of the three-day process, the Green Bay Packers moved to bolster their secondary by adding the former University of Washington cornerback with the 33rd overall pick. The Packers drafted a talented player who needs to refine his game. And King achieved a goal after a brief delay.

But for what seemed like an eternity to him Thursday night, King remained seated in a space reserved for potential first-round picks and their families and friends. One by one, King watched as other former college stars heard their names called, hugged Commissioner Roger Goodell and then posed for pictures in front of cheering fans.

Thirty-two slots and 32 names. To King’s surprise, his wasn’t called. The situation was as demoralizing as one would imagine.

“I came here for a purpose. I came here to get my name called. I wasn’t going to leave until that happened,” a beaming King said in a brief news conference after he joined the Packers.

“It was a tough decision [to come back Friday]. When it doesn’t go your way that first night, your mind is going to go a bunch of different places. But this is what I came here to do.”

King’s rough edges most likely kept him on the bench at the start of the draft.

At 6-foot-3 with ideal speed for a corner — he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the NFL combine — King clearly had first-round measurables. He’s far from polished, however, in his coverage technique. When the draft clock is ticking, players can slide down the board for any perceived shortcoming in their game.

On the bright side, King landed in a good spot.

“That’s what I wanted,” King said about joining a franchise that has missed the playoffs only three times in the past 16 seasons. “Everybody wants to go to a good team, a contending team. Nobody wants to lose.”

King intends to contribute immediately in Green Bay.

“I’m somebody who can go get the ball,” he said. “Everybody wants somebody who can go get the ball.”

King was also pleased that safety Budda Baker and cornerback Sidney Jones, his former partners in the Huskies’ secondary, also were selected on the same day. The Arizona Cardinals used the 36th overall pick on Baker. The Philadelphia Eagles selected Jones 43rd overall.

“We talk about it [playing in the league] all the time,” King said. “We play for each other. They’re my brothers. We’re extremely competitive. That’s why we’re so good. We push each other.”

King went from a feeling of despair to elation in less than 24 hours while also getting to share the day with Baker and Jones. That’s a good outcome.

“It feels great to be out here,” King said, “and get the full experience.”

Jason Reid is the senior NFL writer at The Undefeated. He enjoys watching sports, especially any games involving his son and daughter.