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Rookie Kevin King has a chance to turn the corner with Packers

Training camp preview: The NFC North

Although Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback Kevin King was drafted in the second round, his new team believes he possesses first-round talent.

King will get every opportunity to make an immediate impact for the Packers. Why?

Well, first, King is really fast. He covered 40 yards in 4.43 seconds at the NFL combine — elite speed for a cornerback. While at the University of Washington, King displayed outstanding technique. So far, the Packers like what they see there too.

King can play press-man coverage. He can line up in the slot. He has good instincts on deep balls. Remember: It’s not where you start — it’s where you finish.

A look at the NFC North heading into training camp, in order of predicted finish this season:

Green Bay Packers

Training camp location: St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin.

Report dates: Rookies and veterans, July 26

Look out for this guy: The Packers’ receiving corps was already one of the league’s best, and then tight end Martellus Bennett signed up after helping the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl. Bennett, who had a career-high seven touchdowns last season, should fit right in. And he goes from teaming with Tom Brady to Aaron Rodgers. That’s actually an upgrade.

Camp watch: Will one of Green Bay’s rookie running backs challenge Ty Montgomery? A converted receiver, Montgomery delivered after being an emergency replacement. Impressed with Montgomery, the Packers didn’t use a high-round pick on a running back. But perhaps one of the low-round selections will impress.

Detroit Lions

Training camp location: Lions Training Facility, Allen Park, Michigan.

Report dates: Rookies, July 24; veterans, July 29

Look out for this guy: The Lions’ defense needs playmakers. Rookie inside linebacker Jarrad Davis will have to get comfortable quickly. He doesn’t have to be a star right away, or maybe ever, but he has to succeed.

Camp watch: The Lions used a sixth-round pick on quarterback Brad Kaaya, whose mom played Felisha in Friday. With a solid camp, Kaaya could challenge for the No. 2 QB job this season.

Minnesota Vikings

Training camp location: Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota.

Report dates: Rookies, July 23; veterans, July 26

Look out for this guy: The Vikings signed former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray to replace Adrian Peterson, who was released in the offseason. But can anyone truly replace Peterson? It’s hard to follow a legend, and Peterson, a three-time league rushing champion, thrilled Vikings fans for 10 seasons.

Camp watch: It’s unclear whether quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will play this season, or ever again, after the gruesome knee injury he suffered last August. In an encouraging sign, however, Bridgewater last week was pictured working out without a knee brace. That’s a significant step forward.

Chicago Bears

Training camp location: Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Report dates: Rookies and veterans, July 26

Look out for these guys: The Bears are loaded at running back. They already had Jordan Howard, who was the best rookie running back in 2016 not named Ezekiel Elliott. Then with the 119th overall pick in the 2017 draft, the Bears selected record-setting North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen. The star from the historically black university could emerge as a significant player for the Bears in his rookie season.

Camp watch: Chicago’s offensive coaches should have a blast determining how to best use Howard and Cohen. There are so many options because both are highly skilled. Bears fans don’t have much to smile about, but the team’s running game should be lit.


Jason Reid is the senior NFL writer at Andscape. He enjoys watching sports, especially any games involving his son and daughter.