November 29, 2022

We’re a week removed from the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, and throughout the weekend, the New England Patriots made several head-scratching moves. One of the more surprising additions was the team drafting Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe in the fourth round a year after they selected Mac Jones in the first. Not only is Zappe heading to Foxborough, but so is former Miami quarterback D’Eriq King, who has since signed on with New England as an undrafted free agent. While Zappe will likely slot in behind Jones as a backup, King’s path in the NFL may feature multiple avenues. 

King told Pro Football Network that director of player personnel Matt Groh expects him to see reps at multiple positions including quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and possibly returner. 

“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.”

The Patriots have kept an eye on King for a while. Prior to the draft, he had a private workout with assistant Joe Judge. Despite having offers from multiple teams, he chose the Patriots to play for Bill Belichick. 

“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 was a team captain for the Hurricanes in 2020 and passed for 2,686 yards, 23 touchdowns, and threw just five picks while completing 64.1% of his passes. He suffered a torn ACL in a bowl game that season and was limited to just three games in 2021. Last year, he threw for 767 yards, three touchdowns, and four picks before going down again, this time with a shoulder injury. King didn’t see much action as a pass-catcher at Miami, but he did haul in 59 passes for 504 yards and three touchdowns at Houston before transferring following the 2019 season, so he does have some experience in that realm.

Of course, the Patriots are no stranger to molding players into new positions. They famously turned Julian Edelman from a college quarterback into a Super Bowl MVP at receiver, so it’s certainly possible King could be the latest to go through the Bill Belichick car wash and come out the other side as a legit weapon in the NFL.   

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