The winless, undefeated Lions return home after a disappointing tie in Arizona to battle the Chargers. We take a look at the matchup. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — Desmond King always has had a knack for picking off passes, but getting recognized for the skill has come a bit slower.
After racking up a Michigan high school record 29 interceptions for Detroit East English Village, the lightly recruited King ended up at Iowa, where he started as a freshman and earned All-American honors as a junior and senior.
But when it came time to turn pro, King again flew under the radar, sliding to the fifth round of the 2017 draft, where he was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers. And again, he made all the teams that passed him over regret it, earning All-Pro honors as both a cornerback and punt returner in his second season.
"Desmond is a playmaker," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. "Height, weight, speed, he might not impress you in those categories, but he just makes plays. It’s been the pattern of success of him doing that his whole life. He’s a very instinctive football player and he fits well in our scheme. We like him a lot."
Now, he triumphantly returns home to Detroit, where he'll reportedly have more than 100 supporters in the Ford Field crowd, when the Chargers battle the Lions this Sunday.
According to the Los Angles Times, King purchased a $10,000 suite at the stadium for his family and closest friends.
"He’s a phenomenal player," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "This guy is fast, quick, explosive. I would say the zone scheme that they utilize with him kind of fits his skill set very well. He does a great job of reading the quarterback. He does a great job of pattern-matching and jumping those routes and understanding where he’s stressed and getting back to the ball — he’s had some turnovers.
"He’s a pretty dynamic player," Patricia continued. "He’s tough. He’s going to be physical on those inside receivers and he’s going to get after it in the run game too. Put the return game and the special teams on top of it and he’s just a dynamic player."
This won't be King's first time playing at Ford Field. He got the chance to see action in both youth league and city championship games during high school.
In 16 games for the team last season, King tallied 62 tackles, 10 pass defenses and three interceptions. As a return man, his 13.8-yard average ranked third in the NFL.