If it seems like D’Eriq King has been around for a while — it’s because he has. The Miami QB has been a starter in some capacity since 2017, but now King may finally take his 2022 NFL Draft scouting report to the next level. Six years into his collegiate career, is he ready to be an NFL quarterback?
D’Eriq King NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Miami
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 195 pounds
D’Eriq King Scouting Report
Things that are younger than King’s collegiate career include the Las Vegas Knights, fidget spinners, and Pro Football Network. King has been around a while — since 2016 if you count his redshirt season. He and Jake Bentley are currently fighting for the elder statesman title at the quarterback position, but King may have a leg up on the draft circuit.
King’s NFL Draft scouting report, as it turns out, is a very intriguing spectacle. He was hyped up as the next big thing at Houston in 2018 but then transferred to Miami after an uneven 2019 campaign. Last year was King’s redshirt senior season, but the Miami QB chose to use his extra year of eligibility for one last run at NFL Draft prominence.
Can King become a highly-rated quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft? Let’s take a look.
D’Eriq King’s physical profile
Because off-script ability is becoming such a major factor at the NFL level, it feels right to start with King’s strongest trait. He is a dynamic athlete who commands a lot of respect from defenses on the ground. I wouldn’t say he’s an elite athlete overall, especially for his size. Nevertheless, King is still solid, and he has a few defining athletic traits.
King possesses exceptional lateral twitch, and he can create space to a lesser extent. He has some tackle-breaking ability and elusiveness in congestion, and he’s a tough competitor when he needs to get yards. The Miami QB has enough speed to outrun defenders to crucial markers, with the lateral athleticism to extend plays.
King’s physical gifts are apparent in the passing phase as well. The Miami QB has extraordinary flashes of escapability and instinctive movement in the pocket, as well as pocket navigation and rhythm against pressure. With his athleticism, he easily goes off-script and keeps plays alive. Even more impressive, however, is that he knows how to use his running ability to scare defenders and free up receivers.
Execution beyond the physical traits
No matter how far the NFL evolves, passing the ball will always be the most important element of the quarterback position. It’s simply the nature of the role. King has been in this role a long time, and so naturally, he has some development here.
When in rhythm, King generates solid velocity. This rhythm comes from mechanical congruence. While King could still work on this, he has some redeeming mechanical traits.
The Miami QB consistently gets his shoulders around to maximize torque on his throws. His throwing motion is fairly smooth and crisp, and he has relatively good accuracy to the short and intermediate ranges.
Mentally, King flashes as well. The Miami QB has shown to work through progressions quickly. Additionally, he flashes anticipation on in-breaking routes. King has the awareness to identify open windows while on the run, and he occasionally uses his eyes to lead defenders astray.
Areas for improvement
King will go down as one of the better college quarterbacks of the past half-decade. Still, his NFL Draft scouting report doesn’t completely translate to the NFL. There are both areas for improvement and physical limitations that dilute his stock.
Mechanically and operationally, King is inconsistent, especially against pressure. The Miami product’s footwork can be spotty, as well as his release points. He doesn’t always step into his throws and sometimes throws with a slight lean back. He’s not consistent with his feel for spacing in the pocket, and he doesn’t continuously rotate his hips through throws, impacting his accuracy.
As a thrower, King generates further doubt. His passes often drop before reaching their targets, putting his arm strength into question. His overall precision is a question mark, more so in the intermediate and deep ranges. He doesn’t consistently throw his receivers open and can lead them into contact. He especially has trouble playing to receivers’ leverage deep and doesn’t always push the ball ahead of them.
King also doesn’t have a great arm. He has limited elasticity and can’t consistently adjust his angles and manipulate trajectory. This impedes his ability to generate velocity off-platform or hit closing windows off-script. It doesn’t help that King trusts his arm too much in those situations. He makes risky choices throwing back into traffic, and that gunslinger mentality — combined with a limited arm — can lead to turnovers.
Among other things, King’s internal clock is slow at times, leading to sacks and broken plays. He also sometimes fails to see — or overlooks — overhang defenders, with costly results.
D’Eriq King’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
This isn’t a comparison at all, but King has the general, broad-scope feel of Ian Book as a prospect. He’s been around a long time, and he’s been a good college quarterback. However, he seems destined for a backup role in the NFL, at best.
King is a solid athlete with good command of his offense. When in rhythm, he can be accurate, work through his progressions, and throw with anticipation. Yet, King’s arm is fairly limited. His raw arm strength underwhelms, and he doesn’t have the necessary arm elasticity to generate velocity off-platform or throw with consistent precision and ball placement. Add in King’s mechanical inconsistencies, and he’s likely a Day 3 prospect.
D’Eriq King’s Player Profile
Okay, have a seat. This will take a while. It all started at Manvel High School, where King became a star on the recruiting stage. As a senior at Manvel, King threw for 2,898 yards, 43 touchdowns, and just 5 interceptions. The year before, he amassed 3,193 yards, 47 touchdowns, and 3 picks. The year before … well, you get the picture.
In total, King threw for 10,464 yards and 140 touchdowns in high school while racking up 4,000+ rushing yards and over 30 rushing touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, King was rated a four-star recruit and received offers from schools like Clemson, TCU, Washington, and Baylor. But King, craving both opportunity and proximity, chose to attend Houston.
King’s career at Houston
King had a solid 4.69 40-yard dash and a 30.3-inch vertical jump out of high school. Yet, at just 5’9″, 162 pounds, he needed some time to grow into the game. King saw some action in his first year but only threw 3 passes. As a sophomore, he received more playing time, completing 90 of 139 passes for 1,260 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 2 picks. Over this two-year span, he also caught 58 passes, moonlighting as a wide receiver.
King’s anticipated breakout at QB came in 2018. He exploded with 2,982 yards, 36 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions. He also ran for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns. King was a Maxwell Award finalist, an Earl Campbell Award finalist, and challenged Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins for Heisman recognition.
King was finally realizing his potential, but a non-contact knee injury suffered late in 2018 impacted his future. He returned in 2019 but opted to redshirt after just four games. In 2020, King announced his intent to transfer. He took his talents to Miami in January, joining head coach Manny Diaz and newly-hired offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
D’Eriq King’s career at Miami and NFL Draft ascension
Expectations were high for King as the former Texas high school prodigy joined the Hurricanes. In his first season against Power Five competition, King played admirably. The Miami QB completed 64.1% of his passes for 2,686 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Additionally, he rushed for 538 yards and 4 scores.
Heading into the 2021 season, King has a lot at stake. He is undersized and will be a 24-year-old rookie. Thus, his NFL Draft scouting report is already relatively unappealing, and improving his draft stock will be difficult at this point. Still, if King can refine his mechanics and glean more arm freedom from that improvement, perhaps he can experience an unforeseen rise.