Ex-Iowa football player Desmond King named first-team NFL All-Pro; two other Hawkeyes on second team
Bow down to the King.
The Los Angeles Chargers (and probably Iowa fans and coaches) sure thought they were getting a steal by drafting former Hawkeyes cornerback Desmond King in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The AFC West runner-up's pick is proving prescient already, as King flourished into an All-Pro defensive back in his second professional season. King was named as the first-team flexible defensive back on the Associated Press' squad, which was announced Friday.
King was one of three players with Hawkeyes ties to crack the two-deep squad, with Baltimore right guard Marshal Yanda and San Francisco tight end George Kittle each being named to the second team.
King found multiple ways to contribute for the Chargers, which finished 12-4 and in a tie for the conference's best record with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Michigan native had 61 combined tackles (47 solo), 10 pass deflections, three interceptions (one touchdown) and two forced fumbles (one recovery). He was rated the second-best cornerback by Pro Football Focus' measuring system this season.
He also served as the Chargers' primary punt and kick returner, and he took a punt back for a touchdown in a key Week 13 matchup at Pittsburgh.
King received 16 votes out of a possible 50 on the media panel to lead all defensive backs. He also received votes at the cornerback, kick returner and punt returner slots.
Kittle was a hard-luck runner-up to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the race for first-team tight end. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Madison, Wisconsin, product, who was chosen five picks before King in that 2017 fifth round, broke the NFL's single-season receiving yardage record by a tight end (1,377). He needed only 88 catches to break Rob Gronkowski's old mark of 1,326, which Kelce (1,336) also surpassed. Kittle ranks first among tight ends, according to Pro Football Focus.
Kelce had 103 catches and 10 touchdowns while playing with first-team All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes; Kittle had just five scores while having to contend with three starting quarterbacks on a team that finished with the second-worst record in the NFC at 4-12.
Kittle had 18.5 votes to fall short of Kelce's 21. Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was third with 10.5 votes.
Yanda, 34-year-old Anamosa native and a third-round draft pick in 2007, was named to an All-Pro team for the sixth time in his career. This year's second-team nod joins his selections from 2011, 2012 and 2016. He was a first-team choice in 2014 and 2015.
This year's first-team selection was Zach Martin of the Dallas Cowboys.
Yanda's Ravens host King's Chargers in a wild-card playoff game Sunday afternoon.