Jeff Hafley's comments prove Packers may have found draft steal in Kalen King

Kalen King
Kalen King / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Rookie cornerback Kalen King is a player to watch this summer for the Green Bay Packers.

King could be one of the steals of the entire draft after falling to the seventh round despite previously being viewed as a potential first-rounder.

There's a reason why King fell in the draft. He struggled last season and at the Senior Bowl and then ran a slow 40 time. But the key point is that he has played at a level that put him in the first-round conversation. Most Day 3 picks don't have that upside.

A move to safety or slot corner could benefit King, and he played snaps at the nickel during last week's rookie minicamp. He made an impressive start, including forcing a fumble, enough to earn the attention of new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley has high praise for Kalen King

The Packers will play a more aggressive scheme under Hafley, and King fits the new system. Speaking to reporters after rookie minicamp, Green Bay's defensive coordinator had high praise for King.

"It doesn't matter where you were drafted. It's what are you going to do now going forward?" said Hafley. "In the little that we saw of him this weekend, I'm really glad he's here."

"Really good football player. Has really good instincts. He played on the inside, he played on the outside. He's a physical guy. He'll tackle," said Hafley. "I love the way he runs and hits. I'm really not sure why he fell to when he did."

That final part is important. We've heard the coaches repeatedly say they want players who can "run and hit." King can do that.

Falling to the seventh round is no longer relevant. He will get an opportunity. Carrington Valentine, a seventh-rounder who started 12 games as a rookie last season, proved it's possible.

While there's work to do to bounce back from a disappointing final season in college, King clearly has talent. There's a reason why he was going in the first round of 2024 mock drafts less than a year ago. It's up to Hafley and his staff to figure out King's best position and help him rediscover that level of play and regain confidence.

Based on Hafley's comments, King will get every opportunity to earn an important role in the Packers' defense.

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