HOUSTON, Texas — D’Eriq King was once categorized by recruiting services as a blue-chip prospect who lacked a traditionally defined position. They listed him simply as an athlete. Now, after not being selected in the NFL Draft, King finds himself at another key moment where he’s valued for his versatility.
D’Eriq King signs with New England Patriots
The former University of Miami and University of Houston quarterback and wide receiver joined a franchise that prizes the axiom: “The more you can do, the more valuable you are.”
After going undrafted, King chose to sign with the New England Patriots over multiple competing offers from NFL teams.
Why? Because the 5-foot-9, 196-pound Manvel graduate wanted to play for legendary coach Bill Belichick. And Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh convinced King he would be given the chance to prove himself in a multidimensional role. King could line up anywhere from quarterback to wide receiver, running back, and as a kick returner.
He worked out privately for Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge before the draft, attended the Texans’ local prospect day, and had a Zoom meeting with the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’s a Patriot.
“I’m excited, it’s good,” King said. “I was a little nervous because of the unknown, but I was blessed enough to sign with a team like the Patriots. I’m thankful for the opportunity. It was an exciting time. I talked to Matt Groh, and he was excited. I’m thankful for the opportunity. He told me I’ll do a little bit of everything — receiver, quarterback, running back — whatever I can do to stick.
“Absolutely, definitely motivated to prove my worth. I’m just excited to play football, period. I’m definitely motivated, and you have a chip on your shoulder, whether you get drafted or not. I’ve played quarterback my whole life, but I think I can be a pretty good receiver as well.”
Most NFL teams auditioned King as a quarterback, but many were also intrigued by his versatility as a slot receiver and a red-zone threat.
Beyond an invitation to the Miami Dolphins’ Pro Day, King drew interest from the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks. King was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but was still rehabbing from a shoulder injury.
“I was kind of prepared for that,” King said. “I didn’t have a good season. It got cut short because of injuries. Still, there was that little feeling when the draft is going that something might happen and this team might draft me in this round. I was prepared for this moment.”
Joining a creative environment in New England
A team captain in 2020 for Miami, King passed for 2,686 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions and rushed for 538 yards and 4 touchdowns before tearing his ACL in a bowl game. He started three games last season, passing for 767 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions before suffering a season-ending throwing shoulder injury.
“It’s going to be good,” King said. “I talked to some old teammates who have played for the Patriots. Coach Belichick is the best coach of all time.”
King caught 58 passes from 2016 to 2017 before transferring to Miami. As a freshman, he started at receiver and caught 29 passes for 228 yards and 1 touchdown. King also returned kickoffs and had one score with an average of 25.4 yards per return.
King’s father, Eric King, passed away from a heart attack two years ago at the age of 48.
“I’m definitely going to represent where I’m from,” he said. “I’m doing it for more than just me.”
King has set simple goals for his rookie season.
“Definitely make the team, but I want to make plays as well,” King said. “I want to do what I can to be seen and have the opportunity to make the team. I’m going to try to get on special teams, too.”