Desmond King has grown into a promising, young player for the Los Angeles Chargers early in his career, but the team that drafted him has officially given up on the versatile playmaker.
The Chargers are trading King to the Tennessee Titans for a sixth-round draft pick ahead of Nov. 3 deadline. At 2-5, LA seems to be punting on the 2020 season. Meanwhile, the Titans just upgraded a major need in their secondary as they gear up for a playoff run.
Desmond King is a versatile star
King entered the 2017 NFL draft as one of the best multi-purpose defensive backs and special teams threats in the entire NCAA out of Iowa. He wasn’t exceptional at any one skill, but he could play anywhere in the defensive secondary and was a dangerous returner on kickoffs and punts.
The Chargers utilized King’s unique skill set from day one. King served as the team’s main kick returner for most of the 2017 season. He averaged 20.8 yards per kick return as a rookie, and he only got better in year two. King upped his return average to 23.7 yards in 2018, and he took over punt return duties in the same season. He averaged 13.8 yards per punt return and scored a touchdown in his second year.
King also had his best defensive season in 2018. The DB grabbed three interceptions and even returned one for a touchdown. He also forced a fumble and recovered two in 2018, and he was named an All-Pro after the season.
King hasn’t been the same game-changing player since 2018, but he was still one of the Chargers’ sturdiest defensive and special teams factors over the last two years.
The Chargers are trading King to the Titans
After three and a half years in LA, King will have a new home for the rest of the 2020 season. The Chargers are trading King to the Titans for a future sixth-round pick ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
King was a fifth-round draft pick in 2017, but the Chargers won’t even be receiving a pick of equal or greater value for the talented defensive back. LA clearly just wanted to get rid of the fourth-year player before Nov. 3. The Chargers could’ve received a bigger haul if they shopped around a bit more, but they settled for a lesser deal in order to unload King.
The Titans get a massive boost to their defense
The Chargers are a team building toward the future and staring down a high draft pick in 2021, but the Titans are the complete opposite. Tennessee has started the season 5-2, and they believe they can compete for the AFC crown down the stretch.
The Titans have been exposed a bit in the last two weeks on defense. They’ve given up 27 points to the Steelers and 31 to the Bengals in back-to-back games. Tennessee ranks 27th in the NFL in passing defense this season, as they’re giving up 267.8 yards per game through the air.
King fills a huge hole in the secondary for the Titans, and he can play multiple positions in the defensive backfield. Tennessee needed a versatile player who can cover multiple positions on defense, and they just got one in King.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference