This is a huge upgrade for the Titans. King was a first team All-Pro at corner last year and second team at punt returner. The Titans could use an upgrade at both spots. I’m not sure they’ll want to risk injury by playing him at returner, though.
The Titans gave up a sixth-round pick for King. It was a no brainer for a number of reasons. Not only do the Titans badly need help at cornerback, but they also have an excess of Day 3 picks in 2021. Even after the trade, they still have two sixth-round picks this coming April.
We’re all aware of how bad the Titans passing defense is. In fact, the third down defense is historically bad. No one player is going to fix all of their issues, but having a player like King on the field instead of a Johnathan Joseph will certainly help. Getting Adoree Jackson back would also help. Don’t look now, but the Titans have a pretty good cornerback group when everyone is healthy (or mostly healthy).
Just how much of an upgrade are the Titans getting here? I came across this metric this morning. A big thank you goes out to Bleeding Green Nation’s Michael Kist for bringing this to my attention:
CB - Yards Per Coverage Snap (PFF, 50%) through Week 8— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) November 3, 2020
1. Jimmy Smith (0.34)
2. Desmond King II (0.35)
3. Jason Verrett (0.47)
t-4. Jalen Ramsey (0.57)
t-4. Jaire Alexander (0.57)
Titans got one of the best nickel CBs in the league for peanuts in King & BOY did they need him.
For clarification purposes, the lower the number here, the better. King is currently second in the NFL in this metric. He’s not giving up much to opposing receivers right now. For comparative purposes, here’s how some of the Titans cornerbacks stack up in the same metric:
Johnathan Joseph: 1.37 (80th)
Malcolm Butler: 1.43 (86th)
Chris Jackson: 1.56 (99th)
King has been targeted by opposing quarterbacks just once every 11.4 snaps. I’m of the opinion that Butler is playing some pretty good football, and he’s the least of my concerns when it comes to this cornerback group. The numbers are what they are, though.
King is a huge, huge get for Jon Robinson and company. You have every right to be excited about this move.