LONG LIVE THE KING. For the last week, Iowa defensive back Desmond King has been listed on every all-American list published that matters. He's Iowa's first consensus (edit: it became unanimous this morning) all-American since...Brandon Scherff in 2014. He is the first Iowa defensive back to earn unanimous honors ever and Iowa has produced some pretty good defensive backs -- especially since Phil Parker arrived with Kirk Ferentz in 1999.
King won the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation's best defensive back. (The first Hawkeye to ever do so). He was a finalist for the Walter Camp Award given to the nation's best player and finished 5th in the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award voting. Oh, and he's only a true junior.
And maybe he'll be back for his senior year.
Iowa DB Desmond King told me he is leaning toward retuning for his senior season— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 9, 2015
BUT, MAYBE HE WON'T. Yesterday, ProFootballFocus released their first mock draft for the 2016 NFL Draft. King made the list and in the first round at pick #16. He's also listed in the first round at CBS Sports at pick #20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Elsewhere, WalterFootball dot com has him in the third round at pick #67.
There's a big money difference between rounds one and three. The actual salaries for 2015 picks are listed here and the 16th pick, corner back Kevin Johnson, received over $10 million over four years -- all of it guaranteed. The 22nd pick, Alvin Dupree, signed for four years for $9.2 million and a $8.6 million guaranteed. For comparison, the 67th pick, A.J. Cann, received close to a $3.4 million dollar contract with $800,000 guaranteed.
King has until January 18th to file his declaration to leave college for the pros. It's a question he'll surely get up to and after the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. He'll likely reach out for a draft evaluation and his choice will depend on which round he's told to expect he'll land. As we see, the difference in guaranteed money between a first round pick and third is significant and perhaps would sway his decision.
If he were to return for his senior season, he'd surely be a preseason All-American pick. He'd have a chance to become only the third two-time consensus all-American to play at Iowa. The other two, Cal Jones and Larry Station, have their names on the ring of honor in Kinnick Stadium. Also, there's never been a two-time winner of the Jim Thorpe Award.
There's certainly a chance to become one of the greatest Hawkeyes ever. Maybe not just at Iowa but in Big Ten history. Only six Big Ten players have won the Jim Thorpe Award. Only one of those, Charles Woodson, also won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award.
King has at least one more game at Iowa to make history. He can solely own Iowa's single season interception record with one more INT against Stanford. He's already achieved more than any other Hawkeye at his position in history. Owning that record would be icing on the cake.